What does "Doesn't half go on" mean? The full context:

"..said Dad impatiently. 'You don't go to Llanpistyll to go shopping.' 'Obviously not,' said Mum. She sighed. 'I like shopping.' 'So do I,' I said. Dad sighed too. Even more impatiently. 'Boys don't like shopping,' he said. 'I worry about you sometimes, Tim.' I worry about my dad sometimes too. He doesn't half go on. And on and on. "

(From "Buried Alive", a children book)

  • Here, doesn't half and go on are the phrases, not half go on. Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 23:00

2 Answers 2


When you "go on" about something, it means that you talk about something at length and keep talking about it. One of the reasons people "go on" sometimes is that they're having a bit of a fit about it. With that in mind and given the context, I'd take it to mean that his dad doesn't "go on" in any half measures but instead goes the distance. It's meant to say that when his dad goes on about something, he really goes on. He can't let it go. He keeps going on. And on and on.

  • I suspect you are partly correct. the full phrase is doesn't half go on ... hard to find a reference of authority, though it is found in many gooble books.
    – lbf
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 1:05
  • I'm not sure what your point is. I know it's "doesn't half go on." I paraphrased that as "doesn't go on in any half measures." I surmised that meaning, which became quite clear, by actually opening the book in Google Books and reading the entire section for context.
    – Billy
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 3:33

Oxford gives the following as the second adverb definition and examples:

informal To an extreme degree; very much so.

She didn't half flare up!

Anyway, it didn't half give me backache, pulling it.

It means, My father really likes to belabor a point. And then some.

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