Go big or go home

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Go big or go home is an American idiom that has a fairly recent origin. We will look at the definition of the phrase go big or go home, the surprising origin of the phrase and some examples of its use in sentences.

Go big or go home is an exhortation to go all-out, to put all of one’s effort into an enterprise, to experience something to its fullest, to be extravagant. Go big or go home is a philosophy that encourages one to be bold. The phrase is said to have originated as a sales slogan in the 1990s. A motorcycle parts company in Southern California incorporated the term go big or go home in its packaging for some oversized Harley Davidson pipes. However, there are some who say that the term was derived from the jargon of the sport of mogul skiing in the 1980s. According to this origin story, skiers taunted each other into more and more spectacular skiing runs with the terms go hard or go home and go big or go home. Others believe that go big or go home originated in the sport of surfing. In any case, it is probably safe to assume that the idiom go big or go home came out of Southern California in the latter part of the twentieth century. The idiom is hyphenated when used as an adjective before a noun, as in go-big-or-go-home.


So with the ‘go big or go home’ philosophy, Girls Can Do is now a National event series, hosting events in every major city around the US and then the world, with the mission to: Inspire a generation of Possibility Thinkers and Ignite a vision for equal opportunity. (Forbes Magazine)

Aside from a very droll take on the show’s pompous title sequence, I was tickled by the work of Libby Northedge, the best improviser and comic in this bunch and a go-big-or-go-home performer who is often quite funny as she works in tandem with Brice and Michael Condron. (The Chicago Tribune)

Want to have more idioms in your arsenal? Check out some others we covered:

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