Monday, November 13, 2023

Where things go

That monosyllable go turns out to contribute to highly expressive phrases. 

It can mean to cooperate, as when one goes along or goes with the flow. That is, to use another idiom, to follow the herd. To go in with is the agree to share expenses. To champion a person or cause is to go to bat for

Or it can mean the mere appearance of cooperation, as when one goes through the motions, makes a pretense of doing something. 

It can mean success, as in to go great guns or go one better. Of course, there is always a risk that success may go to one's head

It can mean to oppose, to go after someone, or to go out, go on strike. 

All-out efforts can be indicated by go to the matgo for broke, or go to town. But if you don't want someone to make such an all-out effort, you can go easy on them. 

Some in the U.S. dislike the British go missing, but it is helpful neutral term when someone is not where they are expected to be, covering the range from merely wandering away to kidnapping. 

Bad behavior has a wealth of expressions. To go ape is to lose self-control. To go ballistic is to fly into a rage. To go round the bend, go off the rails, or go to pieces is to behave abnormally. To go off the deep end is to get unnecessarily angry. When bad behavior annoys, the party responsible can be dismissed by being told to go fly a kite.

Of course it gets into sex, to go steadygo all the way, go to bed with, and go down on

Things often go bad. To go belly up is to become bankrupt. When things do not proceed according to plan they can go southgo sideways, or go pear-shaped. (This last, a British idiom, is thought to have arisen from the difficulties airplane pilots can encounter in doing loops.) 

And to go west, where the sun sets, is to die.