go back

See also: goback and go-back



go back (third-person singular simple present goes back, present participle going back, simple past went back, past participle gone back)

  1. (intransitive) To return to a place after having been there at a previous time.
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter I, in The Squire’s Daughter, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published 1919, OCLC 491297620:
      He tried to persuade Cicely to stay away from the ball-room for a fourth dance. [] But she said she must go back, and when they joined the crowd again [] she found her mother standing up before the seat on which she had sat all the evening searching anxiously for her with her eyes, and her father by her side.
  2. (intransitive, of two or more persons) To have known each other for a certain length of time.
    Bill and I go back to college.
  3. (intransitive) To extend into past time.
    Bill and I have a friendship that goes back years.
  4. (intransitive, used with "on") To abandon, desert, betray or fail someone or something.
    You promised me that you'd pay up today, no going back on your word.

Usage notesEdit

  • (return): Go back is used chiefly when talking about returning to a place where the speaker is not presently located. Otherwise come back is more common.


See alsoEdit