What Does “Go the Extra Mile” Mean?

Discover the meaning of the idiom "Go the extra mile" and its historical origins. Learn how it encourages exceeding expectations and putting in extra effort for success.

Understanding the Idiom

Definition and Usage

“Go the extra mile” is an idiom that means to do more than what is expected or required in order to achieve or accomplish something.

It is often used to describe someone who puts in extra effort to accomplish a task or goal.

Some brief definitions of the idiom are:

  • To go beyond what is expected or required.
  • To do more than what is necessary.
  • To put in extra effort.

Here are three example sentences that use the idiom:

  • She always goes the extra mile to make sure her clients are satisfied with her work.
  • The team went the extra mile to finish the project ahead of schedule.
  • He went the extra mile to learn the new software program before the training session.

Historical Origins

The origin of the idiom “go the extra mile” can be traced back to the New Testament of the Bible.

In the book of Matthew, chapter five, verse forty-one, Jesus says, “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two.” This refers to the practice of Roman soldiers who could press a Jew into service to carry their pack for one mile.

Jesus instructed his followers to carry the pack for two miles, which was beyond what was required of them.

The idiom has since evolved to mean doing more than what is expected or required in any situation.

It is often used in the context of work or personal relationships to describe someone who is willing to put in extra effort to achieve a goal or satisfy a customer or partner.

Here are three synonyms of the idiom:

  • Exceed expectations
  • Go above and beyond
  • Put in extra effort

Overall, “go the extra mile” is an idiom that encourages people to do more than what is expected or required in order to achieve success or satisfaction.

It has a historical origin in the Bible, but has since evolved to become a commonly used phrase in modern language.