Go the Extra Mile (Origin)

What Is the Origin of the Saying "Go the Extra Mile"?

The term "go the extra mile" means to make an extra effort or to do more than expected.

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Go the Extra Mile (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • We go the extra mile to help the weaker students.
  • I am prepared to go the extra mile to secure the contract.
  • The hotel staff went the extra mile to ensure you had a good experience.
  • You get out of life what you put it, so always go the extra mile, and you'll be rewarded.
This idiom originates from a commandment by Jesus during the Sermon of Mount, which is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 41:
  • "And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain." (King James Bible)
  • "And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (English Standard Version Bible)
Jesus's commandment refers to the Roman Impressment Law, under which a Roman soldier could order a Jew to carry his pack for one mile. This is captured in the New Living Translation version of the Bible:
  • "If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles." (New Living Translation Bible)
The commandment is interpreted as an instruction to overcome evil with good.

The saying "go the extra mile" is relatively new. It first emerged at the turn of the 19th century and only came into common use around the 1930s (evidence).

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This page was written by Craig Shrives.