The three formations (described below in the etymology) are represented in Pāli as follows.

  1. gacch˚, in
    pres gacchati;
    imper gaccha & gacchāhi;
    pot gacche (Dhp.46, Dhp.224) & gaccheyya;
    ppr gacchanto,
    med gacchamāna;
    fut (second) gacchissati;
    aor agacchi (Vv-a.307 variant reading agañchi)

  2. gam˚ in three variations; viz

    1. gam˚, in
      pres. caus gameti;
      fut gamissati;
      aor 3 sg. agamā (Snp.408, Snp.976; Vv.79#7; Mhvs.vii.9), agamāsi & gami (Pv.ii.8#6) 1 pl. agamiṃhase (Pv.ii.3#10), pl agamuṃ (Snp.290), agamaṃsu & gamiṃsu; prohib. mā gami;
      ger gamya (verse 31);
      grd gamanīya (Kp-a.223)
      ■ See also der. gama, gamana, gāmika, gāmin
    2. gan˚, in
      aor agañchi (on this form see Trenckner Notes, p. 71 sq)
      ■ In n’āgañchi Ja.iii.190 it belongs to ā + gam); pres
      aor gañchisi (Snp.665);
      inf gantuṃ
      ger gantvā;
      grd gantabba.
      ■ See also der. gantar.
    3. ga˚, in
      pp gata.
      ■ See also ga, gati, gatta.
  3. gā˚ in
    pret agā (Pv.ii.3#22),
    aor 3rd pl. agū (= Sk. ˚uḥ), in ajjhagū, anvagū (q.v.)

Meanings and Use

  1. to go, to be in motion, to move, to go on (opp. to stand still, tiṭṭhati). Freq in combination with tiṭṭhati nisīdati seyyaṃ kappeti “to go to stand, sit down & lie down,” to denote all positions and every kind of behaviour; Cnd. s.v. gacchati. evaṃ kāle gacchante, as time went on Ja.iii.52, or evaṃ g˚ kāle (Pv-a.54, Pv-a.75) or gacchante gacchante kāle Dhp-a.i.319; gacchati = paleti Pv-a.56; vemakoṭi gantvā pahari (whilst moving) Dhp-a.iii.176.

  2. to go, to walk (opp. to run, dhāvati) Dhp-a.i.389.

  3. to go away, to go out, to go forth (opp. to stay, or to come āgacchati): agamāsi he went Pv.ii.8#6; yo maṃ icchati anvetu yo vā n’ icchati gacchatu “who wants me may come, who does not may go” Snp.564; āgacchantānañ ca gacchantānañ ca pamāṇaṃ n’ atthi “there was no end of all who came & went” Ja.ii.133; gacchāma “let us go” Ja.i.263; gaccha dāni go away now! Ja.ii.160 gaccha re muṇḍaka Vism.343; gacchāhi go then Ja.i.151, Ja.i.222; mā gami do not go away! Ja.iv.2; pl. mā gamittha Ja.i.263; gacchanto on his way Ja.i.255, Ja.i.278 agamaṃsu they went away Ja.iv.3; gantukāma anxious to go Ja.i.222, Ja.i.292; kattha gamissasi where are you going? (opp. agacchasi) Dhp-a.iii.173; kahaṃ gacchissatha id. Ja.ii.128; kuhiṃ gamissati where is he going Snp.411, Snp.412.

  4. with acc. or substitute: to go to, to have access to, to arrive or get at (with the aim of the movement or the object of the intention); hence fig to come to know, to experience, to realize

    1. with acc. of direction: Rājagahaṃ gami he went to R Pv.ii.8#6; Devadaha-nagaraṃ gantuṃ Ja.i.52; gacchām ahaṃ Kusināraṃ I shall go to K. DN.ii.128; Suvaṇṇabhūmiṃ gacchanti they intended to go (“were going” to S. Ja.iii.188; migavaṃ g. to go hunting Ja.i.149; janapadaṃ gamissāma Ja.ii.129; paradāraṃ g. to approach another man’s wife Dhp.246
    2. with adverbs of direction or purpose (atthāya): santikaṃ (or santike) gacchati to go near a person (in gen.), pitu s. gacchāma Dhp-a.iii.172; devāna santike gacche Dhp.224 santikaṃ also Ja.i.152: Ja.ii.159, etc. Kathaṃ tattha gamissāmi how shall I get there? Ja.i.159; Ja.ii.159; tattha agamāsi he went there Ja.ii.160. dukkhānubhavanatthāya gacchamānā “going away for the purpose of undergoing suffering” Ja.iv.3; vohāratthāya gacchāmi I am going out (= fut.) on business Ja.ii.133
      ■ Similarly (fig.) in foll. expressions (op. “to go to Heaven,” etc. = to live or experience a heavenly life, op. next); Nirayaṃ gamissati; saggaṃ lokaṃ g. Ja.i.152; gacche pāram apārato Snp.1129, in this sense interpreted at Cnd.223 as adhigacchati phusati sacchikaroti, to experience-Sometimes with double acc.: Bhagavantaṃ saraṇaṃ gacchāmi “I entrust myself to Bh.” Vin.i.16-Cp. also phrases as atthangacchati to go home, to set, to disappear; antarā-gacchati to come between, to obstruct.
  5. to go as a stronger expression for to be, i.e. to behave, to have existence, to fare (cp. Ger. es geht gut, Fr. cela va bien = it is good). Here belongs gati “existence,” as mode of existing, element, sphere of being, and out of this use is developed the periphrastic use of gam˚, which places it on the same level with the verb “to be” (see b)

    1. sugatiṃ gamissasi you will go to the state of well-being, i.e. Heaven Vin.ii.195; Iti.77; opp. duggatiṃ gacchanti Dhp.317–Dhp.319 maggaṃ na jānanti yena gacchanti subbatā (which will fall to their share) Snp.441; gamissanti yattha gantvā na socare “they will go where one sorrows not” Snp.445; Vv.51#4; yan ca karoti… tañ ca ādāya gacchati “whatever a man does that he will take with him SN.i.93
    2. periphrastic (w. ger. of governing verb) nagaraṃ pattharitvā gaccheyya “would spread through the town” Ja.i.62; pariṇāmaṃ gaccheyya “could be digested” DN.ii.127; sīhacammaṃ ādāya agamaṃsu “they took the lion’s skin away with them” Ja.ii.110 itthiṃ pahāya gamissati shall leave the woman alone; sve gahetvā gamissāmi “I shall come for it tomorrow” Mil.48.

Vedic gacchati, a desiderative (future) formation from *gṷem “I am intent upon going,” i.e. I go, with the foll. bases 1 Future-present *gṷemskéti → *gaścati → Sk. gacchati = Gr. βάσκω (to βαινω). In meaning cp. i, Sk. emi, Gr. εἰμι “I shall go” & in form also Sk. pṛcchati = Lat. porsco “I want to know,” Vedic icchati “to desire.” 2 Present *gṷemi̯o = Sk. gamati = Gr. βαίνω, Lat. venio, Goth. qiman, Ohg koman, E. come; and non-present formations as Osk kúmbened, Sk. gata = Lat. ventus; gantu = (ad) ventus 3 *gṷā, which is correlated to *stā, in Pret. Sk ágām, Gr. ε ̓́βην, cp. β ̈ημα