phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Go to town

Posted by ESC on April 08, 2003

In Reply to: Going to town posted by R. Berg on April 08, 2003

: : anybody know the origin of this phrase? used, for example, if i'm eating a burger very quickly, without paying attention to anything else, you might say i'm going to town on that burger.

: They're still saying that? In the 1950s, my mother and her garden-club friends used the expression when talking about a plant that had bloomed profusely. "That pelargonium that I started from a slip--well, this spring it just went to town." I suppose it comes from earlier times when most people lived in the countryside and a trip to town was a major adventure.

Right you are. But this source says there's a different meaning in England.

GO TO TOWN - "Do something exuberantly or efficiently. In England the saying is hundreds of years old but has a different meaning: to arrive or make one's mark where significant things are happening. In the sense of doing something with gusto it is of American origin; probably dating from the 19th century when going to town for an outing or a spree was a big day for country folk." From "Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).