Definition of goad in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Provoke or annoy (someone) so as to stimulate some action or reaction.

    ‘he goaded her on to more daring revelations’
    • ‘I didn't realise that people would attempt to goad us into aggression at regular intervals.’
    • ‘He's the nasty who goads opponents with vocal insults, and more noticeably, a series of physical kicks and digs when the ball is miles distant.’
    • ‘He insulted me and repeatedly pushed my shoulder, hoping to goad me into hitting him.’
    • ‘Someone who rubs you the wrong way, who gets on your every nerve, who always seems to be trying to goad you into acts of violence and mayhem?’
    • ‘In today's fast-paced world, children are goaded to study more and more.’
    • ‘From time to time, their suffering goads working people to revolt.’
    • ‘At one stage I thought she was deliberately trying to goad him into walking out - but somehow it didn't seem like it was enough.’
    • ‘Still, I haven't found a mobile phone tiny enough to goad me into switching.’
    • ‘In his range of interests and enjoyments, he keeps goading me (in a good-natured way) to broaden my own horizons.’
    • ‘Of course in too many cases, if the insurgents bait us and goad us into leveling buildings and homes, the people inside will then hate us (even if they did not before) and we have created more recruits for the guerillas.’
    • ‘But if the writer is attempting to goad me into an abusive response, again, why?’
    • ‘Two of the group then approached him, trying to goad him into a fight, then demanded he hand over his Nike sports bag.’
    • ‘Jones was ecstatic, and started gesturing to a section of Australian spectators who had been goading him, while the rest of the team ran around like headless chickens.’
    • ‘Of course, she probably only called me to try and goad me into reading her comment and replying (thus completing the cycle and fulfilling the prophecy).’
    • ‘After a certain point, I'd give up, at which point Ed would goad me into another confrontation where he would do the same thing.’
    • ‘In the new millennium you won't need to fight about spotted owls or old growth or any other flavor-of-the-moment crisis cooked up by environmentalists who are trying to goad you into a fight for the purpose of enriching their coffers.’
    • ‘But in any issue, we should be prepared to think carefully, and not let our reaction to extremists goad us into overlooking any Biblical principles that apply.’
    • ‘I swear that the Land Transport Safety Authority is goading us.’
    • ‘In between all this, he was busy goading the children to ask questions.’
    • ‘When I used to meet him regularly outside the Brompton Oratory after his Sunday devotions, it took little prompting to goad him into a diatribe against his latest enemy.’
    provoke, spur, prick, sting, prod, egg on, hound, badger, incite, rouse, stir, move, stimulate, motivate, excite, inflame, fire up, work up, impel, pressure, pressurize, dragoon, prompt, induce, encourage, urge, inspire
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  • 2Drive or urge (an animal) on with a goad.


  • 1A spiked stick used for driving cattle.

    • ‘The Ripon report suggests widespread use of sticks and electric goads, and says that some animals had to be dragged into and out of trucks and lorries.’
    • ‘His upper right hand holds a goad to remove obstacles from the way as he propels mankind forward on the eternal path.’
    • ‘The spurs on the legs were goads; knee goads, ankle goads, and foot goads.’
    • ‘These sort of things scare the cattle, and then you have to like do a lot of rough handling to get them to go by there, like a wad of electric goads.’
    • ‘I have a lad driving the oxen with a goad, who is now hoarse because of the cold and from shouting.’
    • ‘Ankusha, the goad held in Lord Ganesha's right hand is used to remove obstacles from dharma's path.’
    • ‘Below him stands the image of Salim Kumar, the mahout, with his trademark grin and the elephant goad.’
    • ‘In his upper right hand Ganesha holds a goad, which helps him propel mankind forward on the eternal path and remove obstacles from the way.’
    • ‘The mahout directs the elephant using his voice, hands, feet or a goad.’
    • ‘Nagasena asks whether then the chariot is the pole, the axle, the wheels,… the reins and the goad all together.’
    prod, spiked stick, spike, staff, crook, pole, rod
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    1. 1.1 A thing that stimulates someone into action.
      ‘for him the visit was a goad to renewed effort’
      • ‘Suffering is not a punishment for wrongdoing, but a goad to rectification.’
      • ‘Second, Richmond promoted private enterprise with numerous official goads and incentives.’
      • ‘Eros is the age-old goad and rarely the sex act itself.’
      • ‘What I intended as a provocative metaphorical goad, Hart took literally as a definite and categorical challenge, which I welcome.’
      • ‘The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails.’
      • ‘It's also a justifiable goad to the United States to step up and reclaim the role of leader when it comes to human rights.’
      • ‘True sanctity serves as a goad and a promise, but is not a requirement for church membership.’
      • ‘Today courts reflect the national mood: as American Catholics increasingly grow restive with the status quo, the courts themselves work as a goad, driving laity and leadership alike.’
      • ‘A final aspect of the story to be told in this paper is that perceived prejudice and discrimination are also goads to protest, militancy, and agitation for social change by those on the receiving end of intolerance.’
      • ‘Chinese Staff serves as an intermediary between immigrant workers and labor enforcement agencies, acting as a goad to both sides.’
      • ‘But in the end, methodology was the real goad spurring on most of the participants.’
      • ‘Even if a picture suggested by theory were not precisely correct, intelligent speculation is a goad for more intense experimental scrutiny.’
      • ‘In some ways it seems on his account that music is a way of creating society, and thus is a goad to further selection, a social selection as it were, for greater complexity of hominid capabilities.’
      • ‘Given the diversity of seminaries, neither would it be fair to rank them comparatively based on selectivity and other factors that are goads to quality in fields such as business and law.’
      • ‘Assimilation properly channeled and exploited can thus become a kind of blessing, for assimilation bears within it a certain seminal power which serves as a challenge and a goad to renewed creativity.’
      • ‘Murray, who tells the story over six nights at Zuckerman's rural New England hideaway, was the writer's high-school English teacher, his goad and guru.’
      • ‘Capital punishment is not a deterrent to these terrorists, but a goad.’
      • ‘Such engagements are not to be avoided, but rather treated as goads to creative thought and practice.’
      stimulus, incentive, encouragement, stimulant, stimulation, inducement, fillip, impetus, impulse, spur, prod, prompt
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Old English gād, of Germanic origin.