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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 (doing something)
1. To persist in or continue to do something. I've found it hard to go on writing after receiving such negative reviews. We've got to find a bigger apartment. We just can't go on living like this!
2. To carry on with some irritating or unwelcome action. If you go on complaining about the weather for much longer, I'm going to scream!
unable to go on
Not able to proceed or persist. After I twisted my ankle, I was unable to go on—that's why I didn't finish the race. Our company will be unable to go on for much longer if our sales don't improve.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
happening; occurring. What is going on here? Something is going on in the center of town. Can you hear the sirens?
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
— 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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
Approaching: The child is six, going on seven years of age.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.