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"?
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
on the way : ALONG
- get away early
from this or that place
- go away
- 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