Good Going: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
June 6, 2023

The phrase "good going" is an informal expression of praise used when someone has done something well. This idiom carries a positive connotation, serving as an affirmation of someone's actions or achievements.

In short:

"Good going" is an idiomatic expression used to commend someone's success or progress.

What Does "Good Going" Mean?

This phrase is commonly used to express admiration or approval of someone's achievements or progress. Sometimes people use it in a sarcastic way. For example, if someone does something that is not very well done, one could say "Good going" in a mocking tone.

Key aspects of the idiom's meaning:

  • It is a positive affirmation of a job well done.
  • You may use it to motivate or encourage continued effort or performance.
  • In a sarcastic context, it can be used to point out a mistake or blunder.

Where Does "Good Going" Come From?

While the exact origins of "good going" are unclear, the phrase likely developed from the colloquial English usage of the words "good" and "going."

  • The word "good" has been used as an adjective to describe something of quality or high standard.
  • While "going" is derived from the verb "go," implying progress or movement.

Historical Example

"Photography has since multiplied the discoveries of variables a hundred fold and more, but twenty visual discoveries are pretty good going for an amateur." 

- Monthly Notes of the Astronomical Society of Southern Africa, 1975

10 Examples of "Good Going" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • Good going, you got your car repoed, really showing us how to live responsibly.
  • She managed to secure an A in all her subjects. Good going, indeed!
  • So, you've created more burner accounts; good going with that secret agent vibe.
  • He managed to save enough money to buy his dream car. Good going.
  • They completed the trek without any major issues. Good going!
  • Oh, good going, you're the bearer of bad news again. We can always count on you to brighten our day.
  • Did you bake this cake yourself? Good going; it's delicious.
  • You're causing trouble everywhere, good going, truly living up to that devil incarnate reputation.
  • The team won their first match of the season. Good going!
  • Just chillin while there's a mountain of work to do. Good going with your impeccable timing.

Examples of "Good Going" in Pop Culture

While the phrase "good going" may not appear as prominently in popular culture as some other idioms, it is a common phrase in daily conversation and informal communication.

Let's look at some examples:

  • "Good Going!: Successful Potty Training for Children in Child Care and Preschool" by Gretchen Kinnell is a comprehensive guide to potty training that focuses on the unique challenges and opportunities of training young children in a group setting such as a classroom, as well as in the home.
  • In the fantasy movie The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Alex O'Connell tells Jonathan Carnahan, "Yeah, well, good going, you raised another mummy."

Other/Different Ways to Say "Good Going"

There are several alternative expressions that convey a similar meaning to "good going."

Some of these include:

  • Well done
  • Nice job
  • Great work
  • Keep it up
  • Good job
  • Kudos
  • Congratulations
  • You did it
  • Awesome job
  • Way to go

You can use these alternatives interchangeably depending on the context and the level of praise you want to convey.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Good Going":

  • What does "good going" mean?

"Good going" is an informal expression used to commend someone for their achievements or progress.

  • How can I use "good going" in a sentence?

You can use "good going" to give praise or recognition. For instance, "You finished all your chores? Good going!"

  • Where does the phrase "good going" come from?

The phrase likely developed from the colloquial English usage of the words "good" and "going."

  • Can one use it in a sarcastic way?

Yes, "good going" can be used sarcastically to point out a mistake or blunder.

  • Is "good going" a formal expression?

Not typically. "Good going" is considered an informal or colloquial expression.

  • Is it appropriate for a professional setting?

While not typical in formal writing, it can be used in casual conversation in the workplace to commend a colleague's progress or achievement.

  • Are there other ways to say "good going"?

Yes, other expressions that convey similar praise include "well done," "nice job," and "great work."

  • Can you use it to encourage someone?

Yes, "good going" is often used as a form of encouragement for someone to continue their effort or performance.

  • Does it have a negative connotation?

When used sarcastically, "good going" can point out a mistake or blunder, turning it into a negative statement.

  • Can I use "good going" to compliment a friend?

Yes, "good going" is a friendly way to acknowledge a friend's accomplishment or progress.

Final Thoughts About "Good Going"

The phrase "good going" is a casual, encouraging expression used to commend someone's accomplishments or progress. It signifies that someone has done well or achieved something noteworthy. 

Here's a quick summary:

  • It's an informal way to give praise or recognize someone's effort.
  • The phrase likely developed from colloquial English usage.
  • Use it in a variety of contexts to make it more versatile.

Whether used sincerely or sarcastically, this idiom adds color to our conversations, making it a popular choice in everyday communication.

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