Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia.
1. verb To physically climb or otherwise move onto something. Someone will have to go on the roof to clean those gutters.
2. verb To continue for a tedious or exasperating length of time. In this usage, "go on" is typically followed by "and on." That film was so stupid, and it just went on and on—I thought it would never be over! My date kept going on about his charity work, never even asking what I do for a living. I try to get a word in, but he always just goes on blathering away.
3. verb To engage in some activity or task. We went on a long walk around the neighborhood. When are you going on vacation?
4. verb To stretch out from a particular place. The river seemed to go on for miles!
5. verb To proceed or persist. Well, the party must go on, whether we have caterers or not! Can you believe that wisecracking kid went on to become a doctor?
6. verb To use some kind of computer or digital platform, which is stated after "on." Do you mind if I go on your computer and check my email? Just go on the website to order it—it'll take two seconds. Can you go on your phone and look up the directions?
7. verb To use as evidence or as an explanation for something. You won't be arrested, not when the opposing council has nothing to go on.
8. verb To appear before an audience. You go on right before the headliner. The band didn't go on until nearly midnight.
9. verb To be approaching some age, either literally or figuratively. My daughter is going on 16 and is very excited to finally be able to drive. I feel like I'm 30 going on 80 with all these aches and pains!
10. verb To start working. A: "Has the TV gone on yet?" B: "No, there must be a blown fuse."
11. verb To begin taking or using a medication, which is stated after "on." My doctor wants me to go on blood-thinners, but the side-effects worry me.
12. verb To start broadcasting. I can't believe it's been 30 years since that show first went on.
13. verb To engage in some prolonged action, usually a change in one's normal routine. Starting in the new year, I'm going to go on a diet. The man who went on a violent rampage has not been found by police yet. I went on a binge this weekend and felt sick for days afterward.
14. expression Please continue speaking or explaining. A: "So, I lost your car." B: "Go on." Go on, we'd like to hear your complete side of the story.
15. expression An invitation for someone to do something. Please go on—how wonderful was the gala? Go on, have a seat and tell me about yourself.
16. expression That's crazy or absurd! Oh, go on! You didn't really chase a bear out of your yard, did you?
go on (and on) (about someone or something)
to talk endlessly about someone or something. She just went on and on about her new car. Albert went on about the book for a long time.
go on (at someone)
to rave at someone. He must have gone on at her for ten minutes—screaming and waving his arms. I wish you would stop going on at me.
go on something
1. Lit. to begin something, such as a diet, rampage, drunk, etc. I went on a diet for the second time this month. Fred went on a rampage and broke a window.
2. Fig. to start acting on some information. We can't go on this! We need more information before we can act on this matter! Can you please give us more information to go on?
1. Lit. Please continue. Alice: I guess I should stop here. Tom: No. Don't stop talking. I'm very interested. Go on. Bill: Don't turn here. Go on. It's the next corner. Bob: Thanks. I didn't think that was where we should turn.
2. Lit. to happen. What went on here last night? The teacher asked what was going on.
3. Fig. That's silly!; You don't mean that! (Usually Go on!) John: Go on! You're making that up! Bill: I am not. It's the truth! Bill: Gee, that looks like a snake there in the path. Bob: Go on! That isn't a snake. No snake is that big.
Go on (with you)!
Inf. Go away! (Always a command. No tenses.) It's time you left. Go on with you! Go on. Get yourself home.
happening; occurring. What is going on here? Something is going on in the center of town. Can you hear the sirens?
Euph. died. My husband, Tom—he's gone on, you know—was a great one for golf. Let us remember those who have gone on before.
1. Happen, take place, as in What's going on here? [Early 1700s]
2. Continue, as in The show must go on. [Late 1500s]
3. Keep on doing; also, proceed, as in He went on talking, or She may go on to become a partner. [Second half of 1600s]
4. Act, behave, especially badly. For example, Don't go on like that; stop kicking the dog. [Second half of 1700s]
5. Also, go on and on; run on. Talk volubly, chatter, especially tiresomely. For example, How she does go on! The first usage dates from the mid-1800s; run on appeared in Nicholas Udall's Ralph Roister Doister (c. 1553): "Yet your tongue can run on."
6. An interjection expressing disbelief, surprise, or the like, as in Go on, you must be joking! [Late 1800s]
7. Approach; see going on.
8. Use as a starting point or as evidence, as in The investigator doesn't have much to go on in this case. [Mid-1900s]
9. go on something. Begin something, as in go on line, meaning "start to use a computer," or go on a binge, meaning "begin to overdo, especially drink or eat too much."
Also, going on for. Approaching, especially an age or time. For example, She's twelve, going on thirteen, or It's going on for midnight. The first term dates from the late 1500s, the variant from the mid-1800s. Also see go on.
— going on —used to suggest that someone's behaviour or attitudes are those of someone older or younger than their actual age. humorous
1994 Janice Galloway Foreign Parts Cassie, carrying this bloody windsurfing board through customs. Thirty-one going on fifteen.
go ˈon (with you)(old-fashioned) used to express the fact that you do not believe something, or that you disapprove of something: Go on with you — you’re never forty. You don’t look a day over thirty.
1. To move forward; proceed: The train went on down the tracks. We were tired of walking, but we went on anyway.
2. To put oneself on some surface: I went on the roof to fix the leak.
3. To connect with some computer or computer network: You can go on the Internet to find rare books.
4. To stretch or extend from a place. Used of paths of motion: This road goes on from here through many more towns before reaching the ocean. The river goes on to the lake. The desert goes on for miles in every direction.
5. To use something as a mode of conveyance: The buses weren't running, so I went on the train.
6. To embark on some trip, excursion, or similar activity: My kids went on a hike. I have always wanted to go on a safari. Let's go on a roller coaster ride.
7. To be carried away by some emotionally charged activity: The killer went on a rampage. The reporter remarked about the deranged person who went on a shooting spree.
8. To take place; happen: What is going on in that noisy room? There is a lot going on in the market. I couldn't go to the meeting, so please tell me what went on.
9. To continue: The speech went on for almost an hour. The temperature will fall as the day goes on. If they go on fighting like this, there will be nothing left when the war is over.
10. To continue doing something: I can't go on arguing with you every day. I'm sorry I interrupted you—please go on. We walked until we couldn't go on any longer.
11. To make an appearance on some public medium, such as a stage or television broadcast: The actor went on TV to help raise money for the charity. You should dress quickly for your performance—you go on in half an hour.
12. To begin. Used especially of performances or broadcasts: The show goes on at 6:00. The show first went on the air in 1972.
13. To begin to operate. Used especially of lights and other electrical devices: After the movie was over, the lights went on.
14. To begin taking some drug or medication regularly: I went on a mild painkiller after the operation.
15. To do something. Used as a command or encouragement: Go on, have another drink.
16. To proceed to some place: We went on to the next exhibition. After a brief stay in Moscow, we went on to St. Petersburg. After high school I went on to a two-year college. The winner of this match will go on to the third round.
17. To proceed to do something next, often later in life: Without pausing, she went on to talk about the mountains. He went on to become a senator years later. The winner of this match will go on to face the champion.
18. To base one's judgment on something; go by something: Going on the few symptoms that we could observe, we were able to diagnose the patient. Without a witness, the police had nothing to go on.
19. To talk continuously; rattle on: Every time we see them, they go on about their child's good grades. Do you have to go on like that?
20. To stop telling stories that are not believed or are considered preposterous. Used only as a command: Now go on—you know there are no such things as dragons.
21. To be close to some age. Used only in the progressive: My sister is going on 23. I was going on 10 when I changed schools.
exclam. I don’t believe you!; I deny it! Go on! You weren’t even there.
Approaching: The child is six, going on seven years of age.