Don’t Even Go There Idiom – Meaning and Examples

don't even go there meaning and examples, explained below

The idiom “Don’t Even Go There” is used to warn someone against pursuing a certain line of thought, topic, or action. It signals that the subject in question is off-limits or too sensitive to discuss.

This idiom is often employed when someone is on the verge of broaching a topic that is considered inappropriate, uncomfortable, or controversial.

For example, if someone is about to bring up a painful or embarrassing past event, they might be cautioned, “Don’t even go there.”

chrisAbout the Author: has a PhD in Education. He has been a teacher in schools and universities and has taught English as a Second Language in Colombia. He is former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

Don’t Even Go There Idiom Origins

The origin of this idiom is relatively modern compared to many others, with its usage becoming popular only in the 1990s, as demonstrated in the below graph:

This growth is largely attributed to American slang and is reflective of the informal and direct communication style prevalent in modern times.

Here’s a brief overview of its origin:

  • Modern Slang: The phrase “Don’t Even Go There” is a product of modern colloquial language, particularly in American English. It emerged as a way to succinctly and firmly shut down unwanted discussions or inquiries.
  • Cultural Influence: The rise of this idiom can be attributed to its frequent use in movies, television shows, and popular media during the 1990s and early 2000s, which helped cement its place in everyday language.

Today, the phrase “Don’t Even Go There” continues to be widely used as a way to prevent someone from discussing or delving into sensitive or taboo subjects.

15 Examples in a Sentence

  • “When he tried to bring up her ex-boyfriend, she snapped, ‘Don’t even go there!’”
  • “I know what you’re thinking, but don’t even go there – it’s not happening.”
  • “If you’re suggesting I had anything to do with the mistake, don’t even go there.”
  • Don’t even go there with those accusations; you have no proof.”
  • “She looked at me and said, ‘Don’t even go there,’ when I mentioned the rumor.”
  • “I could see the smirk on his face and immediately told him, ‘Don’t even go there.’”
  • “When asked about the incident, he simply replied, ‘Don’t even go there.’”
  • Don’t even go there – I’m not discussing my personal life with you.”
  • “If you’re thinking of blaming me, don’t even go there.”
  • “She warned him, ‘Don’t even go there,’ when he tried to criticize her choices.”
  • “I know you want to ask about my past, but don’t even go there.”
  • Don’t even go there with your assumptions; you’re completely wrong.”
  • “When he hinted at the scandal, the politician firmly said, ‘Don’t even go there.’”
  • “If you’re going to bring up that old argument, don’t even go there.”
  • “She raised her hand and said, ‘Don’t even go there,’ stopping him mid-sentence.”

Practice Questions Worksheet for Students

Question 1: If someone says, “Don’t even go there,” when you bring up a topic, how should you respond?

  • a) Continue discussing the topic
  • b) Change the subject
  • c) Ask more probing questions
  • d) Insist on an answer

Question 2: Which of the following situations best describes the use of “Don’t even go there”?

  • a) Asking about someone’s favorite movie.
  • b) Inquiring about a sensitive or controversial topic.
  • c) Offering someone a compliment.
  • d) Greeting a friend.

Question 3: If someone uses the idiom “Don’t even go there,” what are they likely asking for?

  • a) More information
  • b) A debate
  • c) Respect for their boundaries
  • d) An apology

Question 4: In a conversation, if someone warns you, “Don’t even go there,” what does it imply?

  • a) They encourage the discussion.
  • b) They find the topic amusing.
  • c) They are uncomfortable with the subject.
  • d) They agree with your viewpoint.

Similar Idioms

1. Off-limits

Definition: Not to be entered or used; prohibited.

In a Sentence: “Discussing his divorce is off-limits.”

2. Taboo

Definition: Prohibited or restricted by social custom.

In a Sentence: “Talking about salaries is often considered taboo.”

3. Touchy subject

Definition: A topic that makes someone upset or angry.

In a Sentence: “Don’t bring up politics; it’s a touchy subject.”

4. Let sleeping dogs lie

Definition: To avoid bringing up old problems or issues.

In a Sentence: “I decided to let sleeping dogs lie and not mention the argument.”

5. Open a can of worms

Definition: To create a complicated situation.

In a Sentence: “Bringing up that issue will only open a can of worms.”

6. Pandora’s box

Definition: A source of extensive but unforeseen troubles or problems.

In a Sentence: “Questioning the decision could open Pandora’s box.”

7. Stir the pot

Definition: To cause unrest or discord.

In a Sentence: “He just likes to stir the pot by bringing up controversial topics.”

8. Tread on thin ice

Definition: To be in a risky or precarious situation.

In a Sentence: “By asking about her past, you’re treading on thin ice.”

9. Walk on eggshells

Definition: To be extremely cautious about one’s words or actions.

In a Sentence: “I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around him.”

10. Cross the line

Definition: To overstep boundaries or limits.

In a Sentence: “By prying into my personal life, you’re crossing the line.”

11. Ruffle feathers

Definition: To irritate or annoy someone.

In a Sentence: “Your comments are likely to ruffle feathers.”

12. Rock the boat

Definition: To disturb a situation or the status quo.

In a Sentence: “I don’t want to rock the boat, so I won’t mention it.”

13. Push one’s buttons

Definition: To deliberately do something to make someone angry or upset.

In a Sentence: “She knows how to push his buttons by bringing up old disputes.”

14. Open old wounds

Definition: To revive painful memories or feelings.

In a Sentence: “Don’t even go there; it will just open old wounds.”

15. Hit a nerve

Definition: To upset someone by mentioning a sensitive topic.

In a Sentence: “Your remark clearly hit a nerve, judging by his reaction.”

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