Main definitions of goat in English

: goat1GOAT2



  • 1A hardy domesticated ruminant mammal that has backward-curving horns and (in the male) a beard. It is kept for its milk and meat, and noted for its lively behaviour.

    Capra hircus, family Bovidae, descended from the wild bezoar

    • ‘She got upset when her father cut off the tails of the pigs or pulled out the horns of the goats.’
    • ‘Sheep and goats are ruminants and are genomically similar to cows.’
    • ‘Besides this, Spanish cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats introduced European meats and fats, milk, butter, and cheese to the Mexican diet.’
    • ‘Finds of animal bones reveal that the ox and the cow were domesticated as were sheep and goats (kept for meat and wool).’
    • ‘I sat at their tables enjoying fresh wonders of the Mediterranean and learned to milk goats.’
    • ‘They eat the meat of goats, sheep, water buffalo, and cows.’
    • ‘Children can touch the animals and even have a go at milking the goats.’
    • ‘An unusual hybrid has been reported by veterinarians in Botswana - the offspring of a female goat and a male sheep.’
    • ‘Cows produce ten times more meat than sheep or goats and beef production grew increasingly important as pig numbers decreased.’
    • ‘Researchers hope to use the technology to improve the pedigree of milk goats.’
    • ‘The meat of cows, goats, sheep and pigs is food for people.’
    • ‘We find a similar adornment in Israel where a crimson thread was bound around the horns of the goat, the least valuable of the domestic animals.’
    • ‘Cheese can be made out of milk from cows, goats, and sheep.’
    • ‘Other firms have also tried to use milk from goats and cows to produce drugs but none have proved commercially viable.’
    • ‘They are most prevalent in the meat of ruminant animals such as cows, sheep and goats, and dairy products including full-fat milk and yoghurt.’
    • ‘The skin of male goats is used for the two side drums and the skin of a female goat for the middle one.’
    • ‘The cooperative is currently raising goats for meat.’
    • ‘Eighty per cent of the EU tariff quota for sheep and goats and their meat was distributed in January.’
    • ‘Many earn a living by selling sheep and goats for meat, dung for fertilizer, and wool.’
    • ‘Bedouin farmers keep herds of goats and sheep whose milk is used to produce cheese and yogurt.’
    1. 1.1 A wild mammal related to the goat, such as the ibex.
      See also mountain goat
      • ‘In the forests may the deer and wild goats multiply.’
      • ‘You may even happen upon some wild boar or goats.’
      • ‘The fauna is represented by species such as deer, wild goats, bears, wolves, foxes and martens.’
      • ‘Investigators of Romania's so-called Cave with Bones have also discovered skeletal remains of extinct cave bears and wild goats.’
      • ‘Wild goats are tolerant of considerable extremes of temperature and would most likely have been a source of food for most of the post-glacial period.’
      • ‘Tales were told of flood-bound trains marooned in the desert for so long that drivers fished in new-born rivers or shot wild goats in order to feed their passengers.’
      • ‘Moors and heaths would have supported populations of wild horses and cattle, hares, wild goats and smaller creatures like voles, snakes and lizards.’
      • ‘Wild goats, pigs, and dogs inhabited many of the forests, especially the mauka (upland areas inland from the coast).’
      • ‘Wild goats were seen picking their way down the shoulder of the Eagle's Rock; they play a vital role by browsing the hazel scrub which would swamp the natural vegetation.’
      • ‘The Korean goral is an endangered species of wild goat.’
      • ‘After that all the sheep, wild goats and deer on the Cooley Peninsula would have to be destroyed.’
      • ‘The crater walls, massive in height and rugged, were the domain of jet-black wild goats who managed to navigate and cling to the rough face.’
      • ‘Further investigations of wild goats and archaeological specimens are therefore needed to investigate these ancestors.’
      • ‘The elusive sarrios and the bucardo, a very rare type of Spanish wild goat are found here.’
      • ‘But, ironically, one of the unexpected by-products of his efforts is the availability for consumption of large populations of wild goats.’
      • ‘The snow used to cool the drink had come from distant mountain peaks where goats run wild.’
      • ‘And, for the first time ever, human hands will not be allowed touch the wild goat at Puck Fair.’
      • ‘This course could also be game, such as pheasant, wild goat, duck or partridge.’
      • ‘There are still plenty of wild goats on the Kerry mountains, but a problem nowadays is in finding goat catchers to help with the capture, according to Frank.’
      • ‘The chances of a [captive] goat passing along a drug-producing gene to a wild goat aren't very high.’
    2. 1.2the Goat The zodiacal sign Capricorn or the constellation Capricornus.
  • 2A lecherous man.

    • ‘When you say that some of the girls are prostitutes and that he used to be a responsible, respected person, it is entirely possible that the old goat is having brain changes.’
    lecher, lecherous man, lascivious man, libertine, womanizer, seducer, adulterer, pervert, debauchee, rake, roué, profligate, wanton, loose-liver, sensualist, sybarite, voluptuary, don juan, casanova, lothario, romeo
    View synonyms
  • 3British informal A stupid person; a fool.

    ‘just for once, stop acting the goat’
    • ‘A group of lads in the middle of the floor were, to say the least of it, acting the goat.’
    • ‘Acting the goat takes on a new meaning when it involves a challenging nine-and-a-half-hour scramble over the rough terrain around Glenbeigh.’
    • ‘Unfortunately a young schoolgirl, acting the goat, injured herself causing a slight cut on her knee.’
    • ‘There's no fool like an old fool, these old goats don't know how foolish they look.’
    • ‘Those involved in one of the county's most popular festivals have decided acting the goat is one way to help a good cause.’
    fool, idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
    View synonyms
  • 4US A scapegoat.

    • ‘The truth is, he saw a last, desperate chance to transform himself from goat to martyr and he took it.’
    • ‘O'Neill is believable because his own story portrays him as goat, not hero.’


  • get someone's goat

    • informal Irritate someone.

      • ‘Apart from the super-slow service, what else got my goat?’
      • ‘I mean I do read them, and one of them has got my goat enough for this blog entry - does that mean they work?’
      • ‘This being the sixties, most of them felt it was a matter of free speech, which really got his goat.’
      • ‘If people don't want to vote, it probably is a sign that nothing is getting their goat enough to make them take the time to go vote.’
      • ‘Motorists already have very strong feelings about cyclists, not all of them favourable, and it apparently gets their goat to see cyclists jabbering away whilst pedalling, and enjoying a freedom that is now forbidden to the driver.’
      • ‘I mean, I know people have gotten essentially meaner, but to realize that it permeates so deeply to the point where people are astonished - rendered speechless - at random acts of kindness just gets my goat.’
      • ‘This really gets my goat, as we can't quit the e-group, and their spam isn't intercepted (as it's in the e-group, duh), and it clutters up my inbox.’
      • ‘He's one of the most famous comic types in Shakespeare, and there's something about him that tickles people's fancies and gets their goat.’
  • run like a hairy goat

    • informal Run or perform badly.

      ‘the nag ran like a hairy goat the last time out!’
      ‘to make matters worse, the car was running like a hairy goat’
      • ‘"Damn thing's running like a hairy goat. We've had it for about twenty years; I suppose it's worn out."’
      • ‘I ran like a 'hairy goat' even though I placed third.’
      • ‘There is another level of embarrassed when you are representing your country and you run like a hairy goat.’
      • ‘It ran like a hairy goat, but it would serve.’
      • ‘The nag ran like a hairy goat the last time out!’


Old English gāt ‘nanny goat’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch geit and German Geiss, also to Latin haedus ‘kid’.




Main definitions of goat in English

: goat1GOAT2



  • (especially of a sports player) greatest of all time.

    ‘excellent defensive play from the GOAT’
    ‘no one can deny his GOAT status, but he can't win forever’
    ‘that movie was GOAT’