have a go

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have a go (third-person singular simple present has a go, present participle having a go, simple past and past participle had a go)

  1. (intransitive, informal, Britain) To make an attempt; to try.
    I've never tried karate before, but I'm willing to have a go.
  2. (intransitive, informal, idiomatic, Britain) To attack (physically).
    I heard you had a go at Jack the other night.
    Yes, we had a go.
    • 2004, Lars Saabye Christensen, Kenneth Steven, The Half Brother, page 314:
      But there were occasions when someone or other had a go — when I was going to have a drink from the fountain, for instance, and had to stand on tiptoe at the side to reach the jet of water. Then it was that the clever dogs saw their chance to do something tough atmy expense [...]
  3. (intransitive, informal, idiomatic, Britain) To tell off (especially unnecessarily or excessively), to criticise.
    My teacher had a go at me earlier, just for missing one sodding homework. I was fuming.
    • 2008, Stella Duffy, Mouths of Babes, page 10:
      Except her dad had a go last time, the last time she'd brought home a detention slip for him to sign.


  • 2008, John Chalmers, The Lady on the Rocks, page 27:
    'Yes, me and Marty had a go when he didn't believe me about the girl.'

Derived terms[edit]