GNP (n.) Look up GNP at
abbreviation of gross national product, attested by 1953.
gnu (n.) Look up gnu at
1777, gnoo, from Dutch gnoe, used by German traveler Georg Forster (1754-1794) to render Hottentot i-ngu "wildebeest," from Southern Bushman !nu: (in which ! and : represent clicks).
go (v.) Look up go at
Old English gan "to go, advance, depart; happen; conquer; observe," from West Germanic *gai-/*gæ- (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian gan, Middle Dutch gaen, Dutch gaan, Old High German gan, German gehen), from PIE *ghe- "to release, let go" (cognates: Sanskrit jihite "goes away," Greek kikhano "I reach, meet with"), but there is not general agreement on cognates.

The Old English past tense was eode, of uncertain origin but evidently once a different word (perhaps connected to Gothic iddja); it was replaced 1400s by went, formerly past tense of wenden "to direct one's way" (see wend). In northern England and Scotland, however, eode tended to be replaced by gaed, a construction based on go. In modern English, only be and go take their past tenses from entirely different verbs.

The word in its various forms and combinations takes up 45 columns of close print in the OED. Verbal meaning "say" emerged 1960s in teen slang. Colloquial meaning "urinate or defecate" attested by 1926. Go for broke is from 1951, American English colloquial; go down on "perform oral sex on" is from 1916. That goes without saying (1878) translates French cela va sans dire. As an adjective, "in order," from 1951, originally in aerospace jargon.
go (n.) Look up go at
1727, "action of going," from go (v.). The sense of "a try or turn at something" is from 1825; meaning "something that goes, a success" is from 1876. Phrase on the go "in constant motion" is from 1843.
go ahead Look up go ahead at
as a command to proceed, 1831. As an adjective phrase, by 1840.
go off (v.) Look up go off at
of firearms, etc., 1570s; meaning "depart" is c.1600; that of "reprimand" is from 1941 (originally with at, since c.2000 more often with on).
go over (v.) Look up go over at
"to review point by point," 1580s.
go south (v.) Look up go south at
"vanish, abscond," 1920s, American English, probably from mid-19c. notion of disappearing south to Mexico or Texas to escape pursuit or responsibility, reinforced by Native American belief (attested in colonial writing mid-18c.) that the soul journeys south after death.
go through (v.) Look up go through at
"to execute, carry to completion" (a plan, etc., often with with), 1560s. Meaning "to examine" is 1660s; "to endure" is by 1712; "to wear out" by 1959.
go together (v.) Look up go together at
"be courting," by 1899.
go west (v.) Look up go west at
19c. British idiom for "die, be killed" (popularized during World War I), "probably from thieves' slang, wherein to go west meant to go to Tyburn, hence to be hanged, though the phrase has indubitably been influenced by the setting of the sun in the west." [Partridge]
go-between (n.) Look up go-between at
1590s, from go (v.) + between. Verbal phrase meaning "act as a mediator" is recorded from 1540s.
go-cart (n.) Look up go-cart at
also gocart, 1670s, originally "a litter, sedan chair;" also "an infant's walker" (1680s), from go + cart (n.). The modern form go-kart (1959) was coined in reference to a kind of miniature racing car with a frame body and a two-stroke engine.
go-getter (n.) Look up go-getter at
1910, American English, from go + agent noun from get (v.). Goer, with essentially the same meaning, is attested from late 14c.
go-go (adj.) Look up go-go at
1964, "fashionable," from slang the go "the rage" (1962); see go. First appearance of go-go dancer is from 1965.
go-it-alone Look up go-it-alone at
adjective phrase, attested by 1953 (in reference to U.S. foreign policy proposals), from American English verbal phrase attested by 1842.
go-round (n.) Look up go-round at
"act of going around," originally especially "a merry-go-round," 1886, from go (v.) + round (adv.). Figurative sense of "argument, bout, fight," etc. is from 1891.
go-to-meeting (adj.) Look up go-to-meeting at
"suitable for use in a church or on Sundays," 1790, especially of clothes but the earliest recorded reference is to music.
Goa Look up Goa at
former Portuguese colony in India, from local goe mat "fertile land."
goad (n.) Look up goad at
Old English gad "point, spearhead, arrowhead," from Proto-Germanic *gaido (cognates: Lombardic gaida "spear"), from PIE root *ghei- (1) "to propel, prick" (cognates: Sanskrit hetih "missile, projectile," himsati "he injures;" Avestan zaena- "weapon;" Greek khaios "shepherd's staff;" Old English gar "spear;" Old Irish gae "spear"). Figurative use is since 16c., probably from the Bible.
goad (v.) Look up goad at
1570s, from goad (n.); earliest use is figurative. Related: Goaded; goading.
goal (n.) Look up goal at
1530s, "end point of a race," of uncertain origin. The noun gol appears once before this, in a poem from early 14c. and with an apparent sense of "boundary, limit." Perhaps from Old English *gal "obstacle, barrier," a word implied by gælan "to hinder" and also found in compounds (singal, widgal); and compare Old Norse geil "a narrow glen, a passage." Or from Old French gaule "a pole," from Germanic; or a figurative use of Middle English gale "a way, course" (mid-14c.) Sports sense of "place where the ball is put to score" is attested from 1540s. Figurative sense of "object of an effort" is from 1540s.
goalie (n.) Look up goalie at
1921, from goal + -ie. Probably a shortening of goal-tender (1909), which tends to be the term used in ice hockey, as opposed to goal-keeper (1650s).
goalless (adj.) Look up goalless at
1835, of journeys, etc., from goal + -less. By 1903 of sports matches where nobody scores. Related: Goallessly; goallessness.
goat (n.) Look up goat at
Old English gat "she-goat," from Proto-Germanic *gaitaz (cognates: Old Saxon get, Old Norse geit, Danish gjed, Middle Dutch gheet, Dutch geit, Old High German geiz, German Geiß, Gothic gaits "goat"), from PIE *ghaid-o- "young goat," also forming words for "to play" (cognates: Latin hædus "kid").

The word for "male goat" in Old English was bucca (see buck (n.)) until late 1300s shift to he-goat, she-goat (Nanny goat is 18c., billy goat 19c.). Meaning "licentious man" is attested from 1670s. To get (someone's) goat is from 1910, perhaps with notion of "to steal a goat mascot from a racehorse," or from French prendre sa chèvre "take one's source of milk."
goatee (n.) Look up goatee at
1844 (as goaty), from goaty (adj.). So called from its resemblance to a male goat's chin hairs.
goatherd (n.) Look up goatherd at
early 13c. (as a surname), from goat + herd (n.).
goatish (adj.) Look up goatish at
1520s, from goat + -ish. Related: Goatishly; goatishness.
goatskin (n.) Look up goatskin at
late 14c., from goat + skin (n.).
goaty (adj.) Look up goaty at
"goat-like," c.1600, from goat + -y (2).
gob (n.) Look up gob at
"a mouthful, lump," late 14c., probably from Old French gobe "mouthful, lump," related to gober "gulp, swallow down," probably from Gaulish *gobbo- (compare Irish gob "mouth," Gaelic gob "beak"). This Celtic source also seems to be root of gob "mouth" (mid-16c.), which is the first element in gob-stopper "a kind of large hard candy" (1928).
gobbet (n.) Look up gobbet at
late 13c., "a fragment," from Old French gobet "piece, mouthful," diminutive of gobe (see gob).
gobble (v.1) Look up gobble at
"eat greedily," c.1600, probably partly echoic, partly frequentative of gob, via gobben "drink something greedily." Related: Gobbled; gobbling.
gobble (v.2) Look up gobble at
"make a turkey noise," 1670s, probably imitative, perhaps influenced by gobble (1) or gargle. As a noun from 1781.
gobbledygook (n.) Look up gobbledygook at
also gobbledegook, "the overinvolved, pompous talk of officialdom" [Klein], 1944, American English, first used by U.S. Rep. Maury Maverick, D.-Texas, (1895-1954), a grandson of the original maverick and chairman of U.S. Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II. First used in a memo dated March 30, 1944, banning "gobbledygook language" and mock-threateaning, "anyone using the words activation or implementation will be shot." Maverick said he made up the word in imitation of turkey noise. Another word for it, coined about the same time, was bafflegab (1952).
gobbler (n.) Look up gobbler at
1737, "turkey cock," agent noun from gobble (v.2). As "one who eats greedily" 1755, from gobble (v.1).
Gobi Look up Gobi at
desert in central Asia, from Mongolian gobi "desert." Gobi Desert is thus a pleonasm (see Sahara).
goblet (n.) Look up goblet at
late 14c., from Old French gobelet "goblet, cup," diminutive of gobel "cup," probably related to gobe "gulp down" (see gob).
goblin (n.) Look up goblin at
early 14c., "a devil, incubus, fairy," from Old French gobelin (12c., as Medieval Latin Gobelinus, the name of a spirit haunting the region of Evreux, in chronicle of Ordericus Vitalis), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to German kobold (see cobalt), or from Medieval Latin cabalus, from Greek kobalos "rogue, knave," kobaloi "wicked spirits invoked by rogues," of unknown origin. Another suggestion is that it is a diminutive of the proper name Gobel.
Though French gobelin was not recorded until almost 250 years after appearance of the English term, it is mentioned in the Medieval Latin text of the 1100's, and few people who believed in folk magic used Medieval Latin. [Barnhart]
gobo Look up gobo at
1930, American English, Hollywood movie set slang, of unknown origin, perhaps somehow from go-between.
gobsmacked (adj.) Look up gobsmacked at
by 1990, U.K. slang, from gob "mouth" + past participle of smack.
goby (n.) Look up goby at
kind of fish, 1769, from Latin gobius, from Greek gobios, name of a type of small fish, of unknown origin.
god (n.) Look up god at
Old English god "supreme being, deity; the Christian God; image of a god; godlike person," from Proto-Germanic *guthan (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch god, Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ), from PIE *ghut- "that which is invoked" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic zovo "to call," Sanskrit huta- "invoked," an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- "to call, invoke."

But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- "poured," from root *gheu- "to pour, pour a libation" (source of Greek khein "to pour," also in the phrase khute gaia "poured earth," referring to a burial mound; see found (v.2)). "Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound" [Watkins]. See also Zeus.
How poore, how narrow, how impious a measure of God, is this, that he must doe, as thou wouldest doe, if thou wert God. [John Donne, sermon preached in St. Paul's Jan. 30, 1624/5]
Not related to good. Originally a neuter noun in Germanic, the gender shifted to masculine after the coming of Christianity. Old English god probably was closer in sense to Latin numen. A better word to translate deus might have been Proto-Germanic *ansuz, but this was used only of the highest deities in the Germanic religion, and not of foreign gods, and it was never used of the Christian God. It survives in English mainly in the personal names beginning in Os-.
I want my lawyer, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, because it means that I shall be cheated and robbed and cuckolded less often. ... If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. [Voltaire]
God bless you after someone sneezes is credited to St. Gregory the Great, but the pagan Romans (Absit omen) and Greeks had similar customs.
god-fearing (adj.) Look up god-fearing at
1759, from God + fearing (see fear).
godawful (adj.) Look up godawful at
"terrible," 1878, from God + awful. The God might be an intensifier or the whole might be from the frequent God's awful (vengeance, judgment, etc.) in religious literature.
godchild (n.) Look up godchild at
"child one sponsors at baptism," c.1200, from God + child.
goddamn Look up goddamn at
late 14c., from god + damn.
Mais, fussent-ils [les anglais] cent mille Goddem de plus qu'a present, ils n'auront pas ce royaume. [Joan of Arc, 1431, quoted in Prosper de Barante's "Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne"]
Goddammes was the nickname given by Puritans to Cavaliers, in consequence of the latter's supposed frequent employment of that oath.
goddaughter (n.) Look up goddaughter at
girl one sponsors at her baptism, mid-13c., from god + daughter.
goddess (n.) Look up goddess at
mid-14c., from god + fem. suffix -esse (see -ess). Of mortal women, by 1570s.
godfather (n.) Look up godfather at
man who sponsors one at baptism, late 12c., from god + father (n.). In the Mafia sense, from 1963. Popularized by Mario Puzo's novel (1969) and the movie based on it (1972).