Here in Pittsburgh, we have lots of "Let's go Steelers!" (and some diehards who also say "Let's go Bucs!", but they're dying out). What does that phrase even imply? I assume it's similar to "Go Steelers", which I'm also not sure of the implications. "Go Steelers... to victory!" is a very strange way to phrase the sentence. Does anyone know where this phrase comes from?

  • 2
    George Bush at college formed a team called the Nads, specifically for this reason. Jan 11, 2013 at 12:43

2 Answers 2


Usually, "Let's go [team name]!" is used for teams with two syllables in their names and "Go [team name]!" for teams with just the one. They are used to encourage the team to move and go for it, I suppose.

The source of the cheer + clap is usually attributed to a song by The Routers named "Let's go (Pony)" (YouTube) from 1962:

The Routers first release in September 1962 was the guitar-driven instrumental "Let's Go (Pony)",[6] which reached #19 on the Billboard chart. Its infectious “clap clap clap-clap-clap clap-clap-clap-clap Let's Go!" chant became a favorite of cheerleaders and crowds worldwide.

That said, the Chicago White Sox used a song by Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers named "Let's Go, Go-Go White Sox" (YouTube) as far back as 1959:

The song first appeared in 1959 during the White Sox' run for the AL pennant--the team's first league championship since the infamous Black Sox Scandal of 1919. It was written by former White Sox minor leaguer Al Trace and his friend Walter "Li'l Wally" Jagiello.

However, the song did not become famous until 2005.

I expect that the "Let's go [team name]" cheer and other variants came about after the cheer-and-clap from the song by The Routers became popular.


Formulas of the type "Let us do something" are as old as the world.

  • Let us pray/ Let us begin/ Let's go

are standard formulas, a kind of imperative where the speaker includes himself, which in Latin grammar already had the special name hortative.

In the Bible, Genesis 1:26 God says: Let us make mankind in our image ...

And in the King James Bibel, in the story about the Tower of Babel, the people immigrated from the east said one to another:

  • Go to, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven ... Genesis 11

As to "Let's go", this formula can be used in its literal sense at the beginning of a walk, but also metaphorically in all senses a special context may offer.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

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