Definition of goat's foot in US English:

goat's foot


  • 1A device for levering or lifting thought to resemble the foot of a goat; especially a device used for drawing a crossbow, consisting of a pair of claws which hook on to the string and a levering mechanism by which the string is drawn back to the nut. In later use usually more fully "goat's foot lever". Compare "gaffle". Now chiefly historical.

  • 2A salt-tolerant creeping vine, Ipomoea pes-caprae (family Convolvulaceae), growing on beaches and dunes along the tropical coasts of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans, having pink trumpet-shaped flowers with darker throats, and thick leaves notched at the apex. Frequently attributive as "goat's foot convolvulus", "goat's foot morning glory", etc.

  • 3A bulbous flowering plant, Oxalis pes-caprae (family Oxalidaceae), native to South Africa, having bright yellow flowers, trifoliate leaves, and a sour taste due to its high content of oxalic acid. Now rare.


Early 16th century; earliest use found in 2nd Baron Berners (c1467–1533), soldier, diplomat, and translator. From the genitive of goat + foot.


goat's foot

/ˈɡəʊts fʊt/