I am completely missing a simple word which means "an indication from someone that you can go ahead". Something like giving a green signal.

  • 2
    Often "green light" is used metaphorically as well. "I am waiting for the green light from Security". "It was green-lighted yesterday". "OK, so we got signoff? that's great. Give Deployment the Go-ahead".
    – Ben
    Oct 16, 2014 at 13:12

11 Answers 11


Go-ahead may suggest your idea of 'green light': (from TFD)

  • Permission to proceed:

    • waiting for the go-ahead from the control tower.

"I'll wait for your approval."


1 The action of officially agreeing to something or accepting something as satisfactory:
the road plans have been given approval
they have delayed the launch to await project approvals


Detailed schemes for each area are still being drawn up and the first wave of project approvals are expected by the end of the year.
They are also awaiting payments and approvals under various schemes.
He added that all the relevant approvals for the project are in order right down to the environmental impact assessment.

(Definition and examples from oxforddictionaries.com)

  • 2
    I might be wrong here, but "approval" is less "you have permission" and more "I think this is good enough". To me, as a non-native speaker, approval doesn't sound enough as "permission".
    – Nzall
    Oct 16, 2014 at 11:52
  • 2
    @NateKerkhofs - Did you miss the example sentences cited by oxforddictionaries.com? They clearly show 'approval' being used in the sense of 'permission' or 'go-ahead'. (When you're in doubt about a particular usage, there's no better guide as to whether it is valid than observing whether, how, and to what extent native speakers apply it.)
    – Erik Kowal
    Oct 16, 2014 at 17:32
  • I guess while "approval" might mean "an indication from someone that they have no objections with you going ahead", it need not mean "an indication from someone that you can go ahead". (necessary versus sufficient). "I'll wait for your approval" doesn't mean that I won't wait for something else even after you've approved.
    – Pradyumna
    Oct 17, 2014 at 5:47
  • @Pradyumna - Again: I refer you to the usage citations in my answer, which clearly contradict your interpretation.
    – Erik Kowal
    Oct 17, 2014 at 6:14
  • 1
    @ErikKowal Thanks, yes, I thought about it again and I agree. "you can go ahead" does not mean "nobody will object if you go ahead" - it just means "I won't object if you go ahead". "Detailed schemes for each area are still being drawn up and the first wave of project approvals are expected by the end of the year." implies roughly the same thing as "Detailed schemes for each area are still being drawn up and the first set of authorities are expected to say 'you can go ahead' by the end of the year.
    – Pradyumna
    Oct 17, 2014 at 7:18

You're very close, and Josh gets even closer.

I'll wait until you give [me] the green light.


give somebody/something the green light

to give permission for someone to do something or for something to happen (often + to do sth)

They've just been given the green light to build two new supermarkets in the region. (often + to ) / The local prefect has given the green light to the dam at Serre de la Fare.

And from the CDAI (same link):

give somebody/something the green light also give the green light to somebody/something

to give permission for something to happen

She's waiting for her doctor to give her the green light to play in Saturday's game.

Usage notes: also used in the form give a green light:

The House of Representatives gave a green light to oil exploration off the East Coast.


The word you are looking for is clearance.

See here: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/clearance


Official authorization for something to proceed or take place:

the aircraft hadn’t got diplomatic clearance to land in Mexico

he took off without air traffic clearance

  • 1
    It's a valid word, but I think it has to be said that it's less common in general parlance than some of the other answers. Oct 17, 2014 at 2:55
  • 1
    @GreenAsJade Yes, it probably is less used, but the other words have additional baggage - e.g. approval implies that the approver has positive feelings regarding whatever it is; clearance doesn't have an emotional connotation.
    – Benubird
    Oct 17, 2014 at 6:47
  • Roger that ;) ... Oct 17, 2014 at 6:51

Less formally you would say "I'll wait for you to give me the nod."


Cue: (from TFD)

  • A signal, such as a word or action, used to prompt another event in a performance, such as an actor's speech or entrance, a change in lighting, or a sound effect.
  • The actor entered the stage on the director's cue.

Pending [your] approval

I will take action X pending your approval

  • "I'll proceed with the task post your approval" could be the formal and courteous statement you are looking for.
    – Yasha
    Oct 17, 2014 at 12:24

There are some good options here, additionally one might say "I'm ready when you are." especially in a less formal setting.


What is the better way to say, “I will wait until you ask me to start off”?

I do feel that it would be better if rewritten as"I will start as and when you instruct"


you could say " I will wait".You could add to it when you have different situations, such as a patient is waiting to go visit the doctor, but the doctor is not present at the time. He/she says, "I will wait until the doctor shows up." Thanks!

  • Welcome to EL&U. Your doctor example is not the right one as the OP asks for a better way to say “I will wait until you ask me to start off”. Also, your answer has already been posted by another user and doesn't provide any additional information. Please take the tour and visit our help center to see how it works here.
    – user140086
    Dec 26, 2015 at 3:30

Proceed could be the right word.

Here are a few meaning and usage as per thefreedictionary.com :

  1. To move on in an orderly manner.
  2. To come from a source; originate or issue.
  3. Law To institute and conduct legal action.
  • 2
    This is the verb, what you might do, when you receive the noun the OP is asking for.
    – djv
    Oct 16, 2014 at 14:12

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.