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'way to go'

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 12, 2007

In Reply to: 'way to go' posted by Valeriy on January 12, 2007

: : : : : What does 'way to go' exactly mean? Please explain with example.

: : : : "Way to go" when used as an interjection means "you've done a good job".

: : : : Example: You've just scored a goal in soccer/football. Your teammates jump up and down, slapping you and saying stuff like "Yeah!", "Yes!", "Woo hoo!", and "Way to go!".

: : : It's short for "That's the way to go!" - meaning, roughly, "What you did was a good thing to do." ~rb

: : The archives have a few posts dealing with this phrase, but none that improves on the remarks above. (My recent lengthy post, with copious examples, did not make it into the archives.) I need only add, 1), that it is often used sarcastically, and 2) the verb does not have to be "go," though it usually is.
: : SS

: Isn't it an equivalent to a naval command "Steady so!"?

The answer to Valeriy's last question is no. "Way to go!" does not mean "Steady so" or "Steady as she goes" or anything like that. It is what Ms. Berg has said, with the connotations indicated by Brian as well. It is most often used as a sort of verbal thumbs up, meaning something like, "You go, girl!" (where appropriate), or "Attaboy" (ditto), or "Good going!" It is more modern than the last two of these. It can be said to represent the tendency in American slang to favor ellipsis, as Ms. Berg has pointed out.
It can be used sarcastically. An example: when someone is screwing everything up you may express your lack of admiration in some such phrase as, "Way to go, genius!"
It may be used with other verbs. An admiring example: "Way to make an old sweater look good, Esther!" Less admiring: "Way to make a bad situation worse, putzhead!"