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The first things that could “explode” were weapons. From the 16th century, for To leave destined to explode in a decisive burst of energy. Even though the more literal meaning of “physically depart, wander” followed closely behind, the phrase retained the sudden dramatic shock of its creation. If I go into the woods, you can’t imagine me going on a leisurely walk picking cherries and communing with friendly wood spirits. The term has never lost the connotation of violent drama, even now, when used to describe a very specific way of communicating in the 21st century.
Goes is up there with to be as one of the most versatile and abstract verbs in the English language. It takes up about 45 columns of tiny characters in the full OED and can mean anything from “begin” (“Ready, set, go!”) to “go” (“My hearing is going.”) to “talk” (“So I’m going, …”) to “price” (“How much does it cost?”) to “urinate” (“I have to go… bad!”). the energy of the change of state. goes is to proceed, to move, to evolve. It is the opposite of its monosyllabic cousin to be, though each distills the essence of the verbal action into a nuclear two-letter form. At any time, either you are, or you are relaxing or making things happen. Try to do both and you risk tearing a muscle.
Add disabledeasily the most dramatic preposition, and you have the key to semantic ignition: “Change to be really far” in the rapid fire of two high-pitched syllables. And on the internet, in the mid-2010s, people really started to explode. To leave first came to the common vernacular sandwiched between corn and I imagine as a sarcastic flourish at the end of a categorical disagreement. If I read an article saying that bees are scary and evil, I might respond, “They actually play a crucial role in the global ecosystem, but they’re going away, I guess.” And while at leave on had long been used to describe a strong rebuke, this smug final fanfare after possessing someone of logic caught the phrase more specifically in the world of internet speech. Eventually the internet narrowed it down to just To leave (as in “launching into a passionate tirade without structure or concrete purpose”).
As usual, this new meaning contains all the meaning that the phrase has accumulated over the years, brought together to describe the experience of the present moment. When I leave, my words explode with emotion and land away. The phrase captures a particularly online mode of speech: responding with an emotional outburst of dubious relevance to the subject at hand. One rant leads to another until the point of origin has receded, leaving us alone with the echo of our Wednesday clue: “Answer to a rant.”