Macquarie Dictionary


“Go on mate, have a go.”

There are a lot of different meanings for the word go. At the moment of writing, there are 127 in the Macquarie Dictionary Online alone! But this week’s featured word is focused on the sense meaning ‘an attempt’. As in, “I’ll give anything a go.”

This is a word used ubiquitously and unthinkingly by the vast majority of the Australian population. Arguably, it is as ensconced in Australian English as other well-known Australian favourites such as mate, bloody and ripper.

Probably just as common at this time is using it to mean ‘say’ or ‘think’, as in “So I go, `What are you doing?’, and he goes, `Nothing.'” This could be seen as the homegrown version of be like which is also quite popular in Australian English.

Each week, we have a look at a slang word from Australian English. You can see other Aussie Word of the Week posts from the Macquarie Dictionary here.

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