I have recently picked up the saying "A for away" (meaning, we are good to go/ready to go). I am English but live in South Africa and watch American TV, so I have no idea where this saying is from. Is it a global saying or regional to one of my "zones"?

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    I have never heard of this before. Can you provide an example of it in a complete sentence or, better yet, an exchange of dialogue? – Jason Bassford Jun 15 at 21:34
  • For clarity, I assume the meaning is "we are in grade 'A' condition/readiness on the question of starting the activity/journey". It took me a moment to parse the phrase as I've never heard it before (in BrE). – Steve Jun 15 at 21:58
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    Hello, Mary, and welcome to EL&U. Could you possibly provide a little more context? Where did you hear it? – Cascabel Jun 15 at 22:10
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    @JasonBassford me neither. I've never heard it in BrE. We really need context to comment further. – Peter Jennings Jun 15 at 23:30
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    Is the "a" in "a for away" pronounced to rhyme with "away" or as a schwa ("uh")? – shoover Jun 16 at 4:59

In sports, half of a team's games are played on the home field ("home games") and the other half are played on the opponent team's field ("away games"). In this context, it can be said that

H is for home, A is for away

This seems similar to "A is for Apple," which appears in children's alphabet picture books. This phrase is given as a mnemonic to medical students, to help them remember that arteries lead blood away from the heart.

Your definition, we are good to go/ready to go, fits well in the general, non-technical and non-sports sentences I see on the internet, that include this expression.

It seems especially common in South African, but I also came across it in things coming from the UK and Australia.

I have never heard this in the US.

I could not find this expression in any dictionary. Among others, I tried Cambridge and Oxford.


The two previous answers seem to misunderstand the usage of the expression. As the question already provides the meaning –

we are good to go / ready to go

– it seems likely that the expression is a stylistic combination of the normal meaning of "away" with a borrowed construction using the first letter of the key word.

In other words, "we're A for away" is like a cross between "we're off and away" and "we're G for Go".

I don't think this is a particularly regionalised usage, although to my ear it has a certain AmE flavour to it, perhaps deriving from NASA and military styles or Hollywood tropes.

To take the two components separately:

off and away


  1. on the way : ALONG

    • get away early
  2. from this or that place

    • go away


  1. absent from a place : GONE
    • away for the weekend

[Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

The expression "we're A for away" is likely meant in the sense of the idiom off and away, which is often used to emphasise the relief or excitement that a journey, escape, race or game has just started. Published examples of that idiom include:

  • I did not linger. Getting swiftly off the mark, I dived for the door-handle, and was off and away, banging the door behind me.P.G. Wodehouse
  • Congratulations! / Today is your day. / You're off to Great Places! / You're off and away!Dr. Seuss
  • I gave them each a taste of the goose, and I was off and away. None of the others wanted to follow me.Jill Whalen
  • 'So we're off?' she asked, backing away towards the front door. Suddenly she so wanted to be off. Off and away. Far away.Ally Blake

G for Go


functioning properly : being in good and ready condition

  • declared all systems go

A famous usage is from the film Apollo 13, with the line "Launch Control, this is Houston. We are go for launch!" (see minute 34)

Adding a reference to the first letter of the key word, as in G for go, is a way of emphasising the word. A published example is:

  • Remi flashed me a thumbs-up. "You catch that, Pump? Another fifteen minutes. Otherwise, all systems are G for Go."Tom Wayman
  • Does not answer the question. Does not contain valid and necessary reference. – Zincha Jun 18 at 9:34
  • @Zincha thank you for your feedback, it’s much appreciated. To help me improve my answer, which points do you feel are lacking a relevant reference? – Chappo Jun 18 at 9:58
  • This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review – jimm101 Jun 18 at 12:54
  • @jimm101 please refer to my 4th paragraph starting “I don’t think” and tell me how that’s not answering the question. – Chappo Jun 18 at 23:24

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