Word Origins •
|Words do not get much shorter, more common or more important than go. Go-cart was first recorded in the late 17th century when it denoted a baby walker: the first element is from the obsolete sense ‘walk’. The variant go-kart for a small racing car arose in the 1950s with kart as a deliberate alteration of cart. What goes around comes around is a modern proverb first used in the USA, although the idea was expressed in different ways much earlier. Also from the USA is when the going gets tough, the tough get going, a favourite family saying of President John F. Kennedy’s father Joseph, although it is not certain if he actually coined it. It was later used as a slogan for the 1985 film The Jewel of the Nile with a hit theme song sung by Billy Ocean. Another film-related expression is go ahead, make my day, originally uttered by Clint Eastwood’s character Harry Callaghan in Sudden Impact (1983), as he aimed his .44 Magnum gun at a gunman, daring him to shoot. The phrase was appropriated by Ronald Reagan in 1985, when the president was threatening to veto legislation raising taxes.
—Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins
Word Formation Resource •
Only available on request