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What Does "from the Get-Go" Mean?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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The English phrase “from the get-go” means from the start, or from the very beginning. This sort of slang can be used in many different kinds of situations, but has a nearly identical meaning in each use. English speakers use it in various ways to colorfully describe something that’s been true from the beginning of a certain event.

In terms of its origin, the phrase seems to have become popular naturally over time. The use of the phrase “get-go” relates to similar uses of these words in other phrases like “get going” where someone who wants to start on a journey can say to someone else: “let’s get going.” People might also talk about “getting something going” in terms of starting a machine or beginning an intangible process.

“From the get-go” can be used in many positive ways to describe a situation. For example, if somebody says “we got along right from the get-go” about an interpersonal relationship, he or she is saying that a relationship with the other person was generally positive from the very beginning. Similarly, if someone says that a project seemed successful from the get-go, without any other context, the listener can imply that the project seemed viable in the beginning, and proved to be successful when implemented.

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The phrase can also be used in negative situations as well. For example, if someone says “I didn’t understand any of that from the get-go” he or she is saying that something was confusing from the beginning on, and that the confusion did not get cleared up later. If an English speaker says “that project was messed up from the get-go” he or she is saying that a project had flaws that were obvious in the beginning, and which existed all the way through the project implementation.

In addition to “from the get-go,” other idiomatic phrases describe something that happened from the very beginning. Some of these include the words “right off” and “straightaway,” as well as the more idiomatic “right out of the gate.” The phrase “right out of the gate” has a similar meaning as “from the get go.” Here, there’s an allegory to a person or horse emerging through a gate at the beginning of a race.

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