Middle English Dictionary Entry

gōn v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

Note: Cp. agon, igon, ofgon, outgon, upgon, gangen, iwenden, wenden, yede.
1a.
(a) To walk; also, be able to walk; walken and ~; comen gon (going), come walking; ~ on fot, ~ upon fet, ~ with fot, etc., go on foot, walk; ~ on a fot, go on one foot, hop; (b) ~ or crepen, to walk or creep; ~ and rennen, walk and run; ~ or riden, walk or ride on horseback; what so thei riden or gon, whatever they do; sitten or ~, sit or walk; lien or ~, lie or walk; etc.; (c) going beste, a walking creature; going man (folk), foot soldier(s; going grom, a boy past the age of creeping; (d) to walk (in a certain manner); ~ bitwene, walk between; ~ up and doun, walk or pace back and forth; ~ wil, go astray.
1b.
(a) Of relative position in a procession, a race, etc.: ~ aboven, to precede (sb.); ~ biforen (aforen, toforen), to walk in front, lead, precede; precede (sb.), lead (sb.); outdistance (a horse); ~ bihinde, follow; ~ biside, walk beside, step aside; take an inferior position; (b) to move and live; be alive, live, dwell; ~ on bodi and bones, ~ on erthe, ~ o grene, ~ on (the) ground; ~ to lif, ~ on lif, go alive, stay alive; ~ quik, go alive, be alive; (c) in proverbs.
2a.
(a) To travel (by walking, riding, sailing, etc.), proceed, go, move; ~ abouten, go around (a place); travel here and there; ~ bitwene, travel as a messenger; ~ creping, go creeping, creep; coming and going, journeying to and from (a place); -- also in prov.; (b) with adverbs of direction: ~ a)bak, to go back, retreat; ~ ayen, go back, return; ~ hom, go home; ~ out, go out, leave; etc.; -- also refl.; (c) ~ out, to come out, be born; (d) with adv. clause: to go (somewhere); (e) ppl. as noun: the going, the traveler.
2b.
In phrases: (a) ~ ayen(es, to go toward (sb.), go to meet; (b) ~ ayen(es, ~ toyenes, to go against (sb.), rush to attack; (c) ~ for, to go in search of (sb. or sth.), go to get; (d) ~ of, ~ fro(m, to depart from (a person or place); ~ to (til, unto), go to (a person or place); ~ unto, journey into (a country); ~ of..to, ~ fro(m..to, ~ fro..til, go from (one person or place) to (another); -- also in prov.; -- also refl.; (e) ~ on (upon, after), to fall upon (sb.), attack; pursue (sb.); punish (sb.); (f) ~ to (til, in to), to have sexual intercourse with (a woman); resort to (a prostitute); ~ togeder, copulate.
2c.
In phrases: (a) ~ bi (in, into, on) wei, to travel along the road; ~ on gate, proceed on (one's) way; ~ out of the wei, get off the course; (b) ~ in (on) wei, to be on (one's) way, depart; (c) ~ in journei (viage), to go on a journey (voyage); ~ in aventure, ~ on erende, ~ on message, go on a mission; ~ on (in) pilgrimage, go on a pilgrimage; (d) ~ on hond, to fall into the hands of (sb.), be overcome; ~ to the fir, be burned at the stake; ~ to the girdel, go in up to the belt; ~ to the wal, go to the wall, be overcome; ~ under fot, suffer defeat.
3.
(a) To go to (sb.); travel over (a place), traverse; sail to or along (a coast); ~ doun the se, travel upon the sea; (b) ~ wei (gate, trace), to take (one's) way, travel (a certain) road; ~ a bi-path, take a by-path; (c) ~ wei, ~ gate(s, to take (one's) leave, go away, depart; (d) ~ erende, ~ message, to go on a mission; ~ pelrinage, go on a pilgrimage; ~ processioun, go in a procession; ~ the staciouns, make the stations; (e) to go (a certain distance); (f) to go at (a certain pace or speed); ~ a gret pas, go rapidly, etc.
4a.
(a) To go away, depart; comen and ~, ~ and comen, come and go, arrive and depart; ~ sauf and comen sauf, come and go safely, have safe conduct; (b) to flee, escape; go free; ~ biside, escape, get away; (c) in commands, etc.: to start moving, hurry; go away, be off; go bet, go quickly, make haste, be gone!; go we, let us go; (d) to go (and do sth.); -- with inf. or impv., with to (forto) & inf., or with and & verb.
4b.
To come (here, to the speaker).
5a.
(a) Of a vehicle, a siege engine: to go, travel; ~ ayen, return; ~ on wheles, move on wheels; also fig.; (b) of a ship: to sail, go, pass.
5b.
(a) Of a heavenly body, sphere, sign, etc.: to move in the sky; travel (a course); ~ abouten, revolve, revolve around (sth.); go about in (a circuit); ~ bakward, be retrograde; ~ doun(er, of a star, the nadir of the sun: sink low(er in the heavens; ~ a)doun, ~ on setle, ~ to glade (rest), ~ under tre (wod), of the sun: go down, set; ben gon, be set; (b) of a stream, liquid, humor: to flow, run; comen and ~, ebb and flow; of a tap: run; ~ in waues, be agitated into waves; (c) of wind, vapor, smoke, sound, words: to go, pass, go (through a wall); (d) of a sunbeam: to pass (through glass).
5c.
(a) Of an object: to be moved, carried, thrust, etc.; move, pass; ~ of, come off, fall off; ~ thurgh(out, pass through (sth.); pierce (sth.); lete ~ the cuppe, let the cup pass, on with the drinking!; ben gon, be lost or stolen; -- also in prov.; (b) of a book, poem: to be published, circulate; of money: circulate; (c) leten ~, to loose one's grip on (sth.); let (sth.) fly, throw (sth.); leten ~ hond, release (one's) hold.
6.
To be in motion in one place: (a) of persons or animals: to move from one position or posture; ~ doun, fall down, kneel or prostrate oneself; ~ loue, crouch; ~ on knes, kneel; ~ to ground, fall prostrate; ~ up, get up, stand; (b) ~ forth, to defecate; ~ out, of a bladder: be deflated; (c) of a mill, a mechanical device: to turn, work, be in operation; of a bell: ring; of an organ: play; (d) of the hands: to gesture; of the tongue: chatter; of things: ~ abouten, go around, revolve, whirl, spin; ~ doun, fall, collapse; ~ togeder(es, of a wound: close; of a bladder: collapse.
7.
To spread in space; of a plant: creep; of waves: spread in concentric circles; of an ulcer, a morbid growth: creep, spread; ~ in, of eyes, tissue: sink inward.
8.
In senses not necessarily involving physical motion: (a) ~ bitwene (bitwix), to mediate between (persons); --also iron.; ~ to helle, go to hell, be damned; ~ to heven (paradise, purgatorie, etc.); ~ to the devel, go to the Devil, be damned; go to ruin; --also as exclamation; ~ to the dom, go to the Last Judgment; the devel ~ therwith, the Devil take it!; (b) of news, fame, rumor, etc.: to spread, travel; (c) of an emotion, sensation, thought, discretion: to go (into the heart or mind, out of the head, etc.); (d) of an event, an action: to take place, happen; ben gon, has occurred, is past; comen and ~, arrive and pass; thinges to comen and gon, things past and things to come; (e) of a word: to proceed (from one syllable to the next); (f) of law, justice: to prevail; (g) of food and drink: to hold out, last.
9.
(a) To pass (into, or out of, a state or condition); ~ to (in, into), enter into (a state or condition), fall into (temptation); ~ out of wit (mind), ~ wod, go mad; ~ eft to, return to (a former state); ~ fro wikke to worse, go from bad to worse; ~ in bond (covenaunt), enter into (a binding agreement), conclude (a covenant); ~ to deth, die; ~ unto the worse, get the worst of something, be losing; (b) of things: ~ to (toward), to change, turn, or tend to (a different condition); ~ in twein, break in two, be severed; ~ out of kinde, deviate from what is natural; ~ out of the wei, ~ wil, deviate; ~ to destruccioun, go to wrack and ruin; ~ to lose, go to destruction, be destroyed; ~ to mischef, suffer misfortune; ~ to nought, go to nought, fail; ~ to rest, of a flower: close; ~ to wrake, suffer destruction; etc.
10.
(a) To live or behave (in a certain way), follow (a way of life); conduct oneself, behave; ~ high, exalt oneself; ~ loue, lower or humble oneself; ~ out of the (right) wei, deviate from righteous conduct; ~ bi (in) wei, ~ bi gates, ~ in path, etc.; (b) ~ wei (gate, path), to pursue a way of life or a course of action; ~ the middel wei, avoid extremes, seek the golden mean; i tel thi gates al gon, I count your roads all traveled, your career is ended; (c) ~ amis (astrai, biside, mis, miswei, wil, wrong), to go astray, err morally, sin; ~ bak, ~ a)bakward, backslide, relapse into sin or error; ~ awrong, ~ biside the wei, err in opinion; (d) ~ fro, ~ awei (bakward) fro, to turn away from (sth.), abandon (Christ, faith, etc.); ~ bak fro, go back on (an agreement), repudiate.
11a.
(a) To proceed to (do sth.), begin to (do sth.); ~ slepen, go to sleep; ~ to gon, proceed to go; ~ forto maken, set about making; ~ and yarken, begin to prepare; etc.; -- with inf. or and plus inf.; (b) with to plus gerund, action noun, etc.: ~ to cure, to proceed to a course of treatment; ~ to daunce, engage in dancing; ~ to disputinge, begin to dispute; ~ to eleccioun, proceed with an election; ~ to sinne (wikked dedes), become sinful; ~ to werk (hondwerk, labour, travaile, werkinge), go to work; (c) with to plus other nouns: ~ to bed (rest), to go to bed; ~ to bord, sit down to the table, eat; also, take one's meals out [quot.: 1467]; ~ to bote, do penance; ~ to chaumbre (prive, sege), ease one's bowels; ~ to gramere, study grammer; ~ to gras, graze; ~ to hoste, of an alien merchant: be placed under the supervision of a native; ~ to housel, take Communion; ~ to laue, go to law, have recourse to the (Common) Law; ~ to mete, begin to eat, eat; ~ to rut, enter the mating season; ~ to scole, go to school, study; ~ to shrift, be shriven; ~ to souper, sit down to supper; ~ to (the) plough, engage in plowing, be a plowman; ~ to the seil, begin to sail; (d) with abouten plus inf.: to set about (doing sth.), be busy (doing sth.); (e) with abouten plus noun: to busy oneself with (sth.), undertake (a task or duty); (f) with in, on, out in, upon: to engage in (a dance); ~ in love, be in rut; ~ o(n, do (penance); busy oneself with (someone's needs); (g) ~ abeggeth (abegged), ~ abegging, ~ (on) begging, to go begging, be a beggar; ~ a-blakeberied, go picking blackberries; fig. go to perdition; ~ a-caterwawed, go yowling like a cat in rut; ~ afisheth, ~ afishinge, go fishing; ~ on huntinge, go hunting; ~ walked, go walking; (h) with that clause: to set out (to do sth. or make sth. happen).
11b.
(a) To proceed in a narrative or an explanation; turn or pass (to another matter or subject); ~ to purpos, come to the matter in hand; ~ to the point, come to the point; etc.; (b) to proceed (to the next step in a mathematical calculation); proceed (to another stage in a medical treatment); (c) ~ to (til), in commands, etc.: to get on with the action, begin, get to work, go ahead; goth til with your cuppes, get on with serving the drink!; go we to with swerd, let us go to it with the swords!; thou gest al to mid swikelhede, ?thou goest to work wholly with treachery.
12a.
(a) To die; ben gon, be dead; ~ wei, go (one's) way, die; of (out of) worlde ~, out of the bodi ~, depart from the world (the body), die; -- often fig.; alas i am gon, alas, I am killed!; (b) of things, goods, wealth, life, conditions, pleasures, sorrows, emotions, virtues, etc.: to go away, disappear, cease to exist; ben gon; ~ abak, ~ awei, ~ ayen, ~ out; goth wei, of a plant: it goes (its) way, it dies; ppl. going, transitory; (c) of money, expendable goods: to be spent, be used up, be consumed; (d) ~ awei, of a flood, waters: to subside; of a penis: shrivel up, become impotent; ~ doun, of wind: subside; ~ out, of a fire, a lamp: go out, be extinguished; comen and ~, of a fever: be intermittent; of poor vision: come and go.
12b.
(a) Of time, a period of time: to pass, elapse, come to an end; ben gon, be past; thre daies going, three days running; of time gon, in times past; it was half gon prime, prime was half over; (b) ppl. gon, past, ago; gon is mani yer, gon mani winter, gon sitthen mani yeres, many years ago; longe is gon, is longe gon, gon sitthen longe, sitthen gon ful yore, gon ful longe, hit is gon ful yore, long ago, long since; gon is ful yore, for a long time past; but litel gon, nought longe sitthen gon, hit is sitthen gon not longe, but a short time ago, (it was) not long ago; hit is mani dai(es gon that, many days have passed since; etc.; (c) ppl. gon, as adv.: in times past, formerly.
13.
To come, arise, originate: (a) ~ out of (fro), to come from (the heart, Zion); (b) ~ out of, of rents, money, services: to issue from (property), be derived or collected from; (c) theol. ~ of, of the Holy Ghost: to proceed from (the Father and the Son).
14.
In phrases [Since gon, in transferred and figurative senses, combines with almost any ME adverb or preposition, the following phrases are only a limited selection.]: (a) ~ aboven (biforen), to be superior, to be master, to have the upper hand; ~ a)doun, ~ under, suffer defeat, be overcome, suffer a worsening of one's lot, be weakened or subordinated, be inferior; ~ afir, catch on fire, be incensed; ~ after, obey (sb.), worship (a god), be ruled by (sb. or sth.); ~ ayen(es, oppose (sb. or sth.), withstand, disobey; of an action: run counter to (one's heart or will); of a judgment: turn out unfavorably for (sb.); ~ bi, be determined by (sth.) ~ bi and bi, examine (sth.) closely, study; ~ biside, overlook (injuries, wrongs); ~ biyondes, get the better of (sb.); (b) ~ biforen (aforen, toforen), to exist or happen before (sth.), precede (sth.) in time, come first; cause going toforen (aforen), materie going aforen, antecedent cause; ~ for, be accepted in return for (sb., someone's life), serve as ransom for; of a Scriptural passage or narrative: serve (a purpose), prove (a point); ~ forth (forthward, forward), make progress, advance, increase; ~ fro, escape (death, stoning); of the heart: refrain from (loving); of love: desert (sb.); (c) ~ fro, to disagree with (sth.); ~ in minde, be possible to believe; ~ in the self storie, tell the same story, agree; ~ on, of vengeance: fall upon (sb.); ~ to (into), refer to (an authority), consult; ~ togederes, be shattered; ~ under, deceive (sb.), be deceitful; (d) ~ to (unto), of money: to be appropriated for (a purpose); of materials: be used in making (sth.), be set aside for (a use or object); ~ toforen, take precedence over (sth.); goddes grace going toforen, with God's grace, with God's help; ~ under, undergo (sth.), experience, suffer; ~ up intil, of numbers: add up to (a sum); ~ upon, be concerned with (sth.), have to do with; ~ with, take sides with (sb.), join, support; ~ withouten, go without, suffer deprivation; (e) ~ to (into), of property, goods: to pass to (sb., an institution) by inheritance or bequest; (f) ~ to (into, til), of actions: to conduce or contribute to (a certain end); of a Scriptural text: tend to support (an opinion); (g) leten ~, to let (sth.) pass unheeded, disregard.
15a.
(a) To be, dwell; be (in a certain place, a certain condition); ~ fasting, ~ sori, ~ unblessed, etc.; who goth ther, who is there?, who goes there?; (b) ~ quit (cler, fre), to go free, be cleared of guilt; be free of restraint, punishment, charges, etc.; ~ at large, be at large, be free to come and go; (c) ben going of, to be within the span of (a certain age).
15b.
(a) To be (in a certain condition of dress or undress), be dressed (in a certain fashion); ~ bar-fot, go barefoot; ~ naked, go naked; ~ itressed, have the hair in plaits; etc.; (b) to be (of a certain form or appearance); ~ grisli, appear terrifying; ~ in liking of, bear a resemblance to (sth.); ~ in liknesse, be in (human) form; ben neigh going to, resemble (sth.).
15c.
(a) To be pregnant; pass (a certain time) in pregnancy; ~ gret, be great with child; ~ with (mid) child; with child far gon, great with child; (b) of animals: ~ with brod, ~ with calf (fole, kid, whelp); (c) ~ with child, of soil: to bear plant life; of a tree: bud, burgeon; (d) ~ maiden, to continue virgin.
15d.
(a) Of money: to pass current; ~ for, be valued at (a certain amount); (b) of commodities, the market: to be priced; (c) of a fact or circumstance: to be valued, have worth or importance.
15e.
Of things, conditions, circumstances, matters: to proceed, transpire, fare; be, come about, happen; ~ aright, ~ faire and wel, fare well; ~ amis, ~ streit and sharp, fare badly; hou the game goth, how things are going, how matters lie; how the world goth, how matters fare; ther it goth, this is the way things are; ~ me bettre out, turn out better for me; etc.
16.
To extend in space, reach (to a place, from one place to another); ~ abouten (enviroun), extend around (sth.), encircle; ~ aside, extend obliquely.
17.
In names [?see also gobet 5.].

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • c1300(c1250) Floris (Cmb Gg.4.27)210 : And Babilloine, ihc vnderstonde, Dureþ abute furtenniʒt gonde.
  • Note: Additional quote(s)
  • c1475 Rwl.Prov.(Rwl D.328)p.120 : Sony y go, sony y cum. Cum ito cum curso sum qui veni.
  • Note: 4a.(a)
  • a1500 MSerm.Mol.(Adv 19.3.1)83 : This worthi doctur rehersus and seys he saw wonus a nolde wyfe gwo vij. yer be the sey-syde, and of all that seyd vij. yere sche had no more for to do but for to take a fart in a schowepette.
  • Note: New spelling (gwo)
    Note: Sense 1b.(b)
  • c1330 Þe siker soþe (Auch)71 : For non giftes that ges Mai no man til him [death] trist.
  • Note: a giftes = pay bribe--per MJW
    Note: Only 2 exx. this form

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • ?1482 Rev.Monk Eynsham849 : Thys onhappy sowle..was goyng to be broughte [L agitur] into helle for the synne and onleful lustys of her body.
  • Note: Cf. OED go, v. 51. a. (a), under 'Special uses of the present participle.' -- 'to be just going to: to be on the point of doing something; to be just about to.'
    Note: ben going + infinitive: comparable to the French near future tense (le futur proche).
    Note: New sense.