Mobile Banner

he can go whistle

he can do whatever he likes, he won't get what he's asking for


go whistle = Vergiss es! (Daraus wird nichts!)



Boris Johnson has suggested European leaders can "GO WHISTLE" if they expect Britain to pay a divorce bill for withdrawing from the European Union.

The Guardian

Did you

he/she/they can go whistle (for it)
idiomatic phrase

Something that you say which means you are determined that someone will not get what they want.

Cambridge Idioms Dictionary


The first citation in the OED for the phrase go whistle is from the 1450s. The original definition, according to the Dictionary, was 'to go and do what one will, to occupy oneself idly or to no purpose'.

Shakespeare was often negative about the law and the legal profession, and in The Winter's Tale, Clown, the shepherd's son says "Let the law go whistle".

The early definition, however, is linked to the long-standing and common superstitious practice among sailors of whistling for a wind when the seas were calm and they could not make headway on their journey. Likewise, it was considered unlucky to whistle when it was windy in case a storm resulted.

The Royal Navy website notes that whistling was formerly considered a sign of mutiny. The only person on the ship who was allowed to whistle was the cook, and that was to prove he wasn't eating the food he was preparing.

Nowadays if you tell someone to go whistle, it is like telling them to get lost, and that you have no intention of doing whatever they want.

The Virtual Linguist

Say something like

"If he wants more money, he can whistle for it. He's not getting a penny out of me!"

More Word Quizzes: