1. to die
   And its northern British alternative, gang, alone or in many phrases:
    ... he said 'I think I'm going, Peter.' He didn't speak again. (Manning, 1977)
   Thus a sailor may go aloft, punning on the ascent of the rigging; a Scot might go corbie, from the crow, the messenger which brought bad tidings or did not return; cattle might go down the nick, to a slaughterhouse; an Egyptologist might go forth in his cerements (the waxed wrappings alluded to by Stringer to in Powell's Dance to the Music of Time); and all of us will ultimately go away, for a Burton, forward, home, into the ground, off, off the hooks, on, out, over, round land, the wrong way, to a better place (often specified in detail according to the delectations or aspirations of the deceased), to grass, to heaven, to our rest, to our reward, to ourselves, to wall, under, west, etc.:
    Not since my wife, Miriam... went away. (Diehl, 1978 — Miriam had died, not gone on holiday)
    Hadna Pyotshaw grippit ma airm he was a gone corbie. (F. Gordon, 1885)
    Looks like they's all goin' to go down t'nick. (Herriot, 1981, of a herd of cattle)
    Comrades-in-arms who long ago went for a Burton beer... (Maclean, 1998)
    ... leaving me to tell the story of his 'life's work' alone, while he went forward to receive the crown of righteousness laid up for him in another world. (E. M. Wright, 1932 — the life's work was Joseph Wright's English Dialect Dictionary)
    ... he is not sick, that he doesn't have to go into the ground with her. (T. Harris, 1988)
    I was assured yesterday that Lady Duncannon was gone off, surely it cannot be true, do write me word that I may contradict it. (Foreman, 1998, quoting a letter written in January, 1785 — her ladyship had died but not, so far as we know, putrefied)
    He went round land at las', an' was found dead in his bed. (Quiller-Couch, 1893)
    ... a chronic state of diarrhoea under which the animal wastes away and dies. That is what is perfectly understood as going the wrong way. {EDD, from western England)
    He wanted to know who'd be paying Mr Torrance's bill now he's gone to his final reward. (McBain, 1994)
    I expect he's gone to his rest long since, poor man. (P. D. James, 1972)
    Now Sam's gone to the great massage parlor in the sky. (Sanders, 1977)
    But it's a glory to know he has gone to his reward. (Sanders, 1980)
    He had once said to Victoria that [Prince Albert] did not cling to life (as she did) and that, if he had a severe illness, he would go under. (Pearsall, 1969 — Prince Albert died of typhoid caught at Windsor Castle, although Victoria preferred to think it was from mortification at the sexual behaviour of their son Bertie, of which more under fall1)
   In obsolete use to go right was to die and go to heaven:
    I knowed 'e went right, for a says t'I, a says, 'I 'a sin a angel'. {EDD)
   2. to become bankrupt
   Alone, or in phrases, some of which are shared with death. Go at staves was what happened to a barrel when the hoops were removed; go for a Burton did not mean you had slipped out for a pint; the individual or firm might also go crash, smash, to the wall, under, west, etc.:
    If s shopkeeper conducted his affairs upon such a principle he would go smash. (Flanagan, 1988)
   The American Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 specifies in successive chapters procedures for the protection of creditors or businesses, of which Chapter 11, which permits continued trading under court protection during insolvency, is perhaps the most common. A corporation claiming such relief is said to go or file Chapter Eleven (or as the case may be), indicating that it is insolvent:
    The Lelands had first approached him in the summer of 1921, six months before they were driven to file Chapter Eleven. (Lacey, 1986 — using the phrase anachronistically)
   3. to urinate or defecate
   A shortened form of go to the lavatory or bathroom etc., with irregular conjugation in the perfect tense — I go, I went, I have been. As with GO l and i, tout court, or in numerous phrases, such as go about your business, for a walk (with a spade etc.), on the coal (for a blacksmith, to ammoniate it), over the heap (for a collier), places, round the corner, to ground (in the open), to the toilet (or whatever term is used for a lavatory), upstairs, etc.:
    . . . especially Lally who was longing to 'go' as much as we were. (Bogarde, 1978)
    They should go about their private business one hundred yards from the ordinary encampment. (F. Harris, 1925)
    I'd gone for a walk... You know, with a spade. (Manning, 1978)
    What am I do to? I can't follow them when they go places. (Manning, 1977)
    'Going to ground' is a phrase well known to the surgeons in the Birmingham hospitals. (EDD — meaning defecation)
    . . . he went to the toilet down a bit of hosepipe through Miss Kilmartin's car window. (R. Doyle, 1993 — referring to a child urinating)
    'Do you want to go upstairs, Emma?' she asked... 'I'll come too,' said Louis... 'You can't go where she's going. (Bradbury, 1959)
   The obsolete going was human excrement:
    No man shall bury and dung or goung within the liberties of this city. (Stowe, 1633, referring to London)

How not to say what you mean: A dictionary of euphemisms. . 2014.


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