What Does "Good to Go" Mean?

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  • Written By: Ray Hawk
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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“Good to go” is an English idiomatic expression that means someone or something is ready for action, and no further delay is necessary. It has often been used informally in group activities where teamwork is vital to success, such as in business sales, sports, or military actions. When someone says that he or she is “good to go,” it means that he or she is eager to get started on an activity and wants to set aside all peripheral matters and cause for delay.

While tracing the meaning of idioms and their origins can almost always prove problematic, they usually retain some intent or connotation that points to a specific direction for their most frequent use. Some sources attribute this particular phrase to such unique origins as the marketing of a popular brand of baked goods in the US in the 1960s and 1970s, which were advertised as “...snacks and cakes, they're good to go!” In popular slang, the phrase is also said to represent when a man thinks a woman is interested in sexual activity.


The basic intent is to convey a sense of readiness and, in that respect, the expression most likely originated in US military terminology, possibly from the US Marine Corps, who are almost always the first troops sent into a conflict, or aviation sectors. It has been said that Marine units would often communicate with each other remotely by radio and confirm that each squad was ready to go before launching an attack. There is also speculation that the phrase is related to the process of an aircraft pilot going over a pre-flight checklist. Once completed and before taking off, the officer would signal to a copilot or other airmen that he or she was “good to go” when ready to start the takeoff procedure. The early days of the space program may also have served as an origin for the phrase, when astronauts confirmed their status before a final launch procedure was initiated.

While its origins are obscure, the phrase is commonly used in the US. Like many idioms, it has an alliterative ring to it that lends itself easily to memory and conversation. It is also a concise and friendly way for someone to express that he or she is tired of waiting around for something to happen, without being openly offensive by saying so.


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Post 7

I overheard a conversation between my best friend's boyfriend and his friend at school one day. He told his friend that my friend was “good to go,” meaning that he was about to sleep with her that weekend.

I knew this wasn't true, because my friend believed in waiting until she was married. I felt that she should know what he was saying behind her back, because I wasn't sure if he was just trying to impress his friend or if he really felt that she was willing.

Either way, she needed to know. He could have tarnished her good reputation by saying stuff like that.

Post 6

My friend and I live about forty miles apart, so we would always meet up at a point halfway between our houses when we were going to ride to the mall together. I would always tell her to text me before she left her house, because if we left at the same time, we would arrive at the same time.

She would always text “good 2 go” when she was about to pull out of her driveway. This was short and sweet, and it took less time than typing out, “I'm leaving the house now.”

Post 5

@seag47 – It is almost always a relief to hear those words from some sort of professional. I remember the day that I was getting discharged from the hospital after a two-week stay and how glad I was to hear this idiom coming from the doctor's lips.

I knew that I was getting discharged that day, but I had to wait around for hours so that the doctor could give me one last exam. I was terrified that he might find some reason for me to stick around, so I was immensely relieved when he said I was good to go.

I jumped up and ran toward the door, but he told me that I would have to be

pushed out in a wheelchair because of hospital policy. I was raring to go, instead of just good to go, so it was hard for me to sit down in that chair and let someone else slowly push me toward the exit.
Post 4

I have often heard this phrase used by nurses, sales reps, and other people in customer service who have been working with customers on something. They usually ask, “Do you have any questions?” If I don't, then they say, “Well, you are good to go.”

Sometimes, if I am talking with some sort of customer service rep and filling out paperwork, I will end up just standing around after I give it back to them. If they don't tell me that I'm good to go, then I ask them if that is all they need. Almost always, they respond with, “Yes. You are good to go.”

Post 3

I thought that "good to go" just mean "ready". But reading about it's origins in the military, I understand the meaning better. It doesn't just mean "ready," it means ready and prepared for action -- whether that is starting a military operation, working on a project or going somewhere.

I think we need to be reminded of it's meaning though because a lot of people (including me until now) use this phrase out of context. It should retain the right meaning even as time passes.

Post 2

@Crispety - I do that too. I hate to see people sitting down having a huge conversation when people are waiting to be seated. I know that everyone wants to enjoy their dining experience, but people have to know that they should be good to go if they are done and others are waiting.

If no one is waiting, then I think it is okay to continue talking, but I think that we should be courteous to others.

Post 1

I always say that I am good to go when I am ready to leave my house and go somewhere. When I have my sister visiting with me, I will usually ask "Are we good to go?", meaning is it okay to get going when we are about to leave the house.

I think that it is an expression that people say so often that they don’t really analyze the meaning to it.

I also say this after I had my meal at a restaurant and am telling my husband that I am ready to go. I think that when you go to a restaurant some people are good to go when they finish their meal and ask

for the check, while other people like to converse a little more before they ask for the check.

I usually like to ask for the check as soon as I finish eating because I know that there are people waiting and I feel bad having idle conversation when there is a wait to get seated inside the restaurant.

I have been one of those people waiting, and I hate to have to wait so I won’t do that to someone else.

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