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goaded; goading; goads

transitive verb

: to incite or rouse as if with a goad (see goad entry 2 sense 2a)
was goaded into fighting with another player
: to drive (an animal) with a goad (see goad entry 2 sense 1)


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: a pointed rod used to urge on an animal
: something that urges or stimulates into action : spur
The accident has been a goad to the company to improve its safety record.
: something that pains as if by pricking : thorn
Choose the Right Synonym for goad

motive, impulse, incentive, inducement, spur, goad mean a stimulus to action.

motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act.

a motive for the crime

impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution.

buying on impulse

incentive applies to an external influence (such as an expected reward) inciting to action.

a bonus was offered as an incentive

inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another.

offered a watch as an inducement to subscribe

spur applies to a motive that stimulates the faculties or increases energy or ardor.

fear was a spur to action

goad suggests a motive that keeps one going against one's will or desire.

thought insecurity a goad to worker efficiency

Example Sentences

Verb The threat of legal action should goad them into complying. tried to goad me into auditioning for the play Noun The threat of legal action is a powerful goad to companies that have ignored the regulations. the threat of skin cancer—not to mention the prospect of wrinkles—should be sufficient goad for using sunscreen
Recent Examples on the Web
Abbott’s pardon announcement came after he was goaded to do so by figures on the right – from Fox News host Tucker Carlson to the chairman of the Texas Republican Party to Kyle Rittenhouse. Dean Obeidallah, CNN, 10 Apr. 2023 Health officials used that fear to help sell the program to their political superiors; President Ford used it to pry funding from Congress and to goad the American public to participate, and the media, ever on the lookout for a compelling news angle, repeatedly stressed the 1918 analogy. Rick Perlstein, Star Tribune, 3 Sep. 2020 Love Is Blind co-host Vanessa Lachey channeled some Queen Charlotte energy during the reality dating show’s not-so-live reunion, pressuring season four’s contestants to have children in much the same way Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) goads her children to produce heirs of their own. Vulture, 5 May 2023 Temperature is one of the sharpest sticks to goad a buck into moving (or staying on his belly). Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, 4 May 2023 But the indictment goaded him to stand up for the former president. Maya King, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2023 Then West Catholic pushed the pace, and when Lansing Catholic tried to match it, they were goaded into throwing bad passes, committing five turnovers in the remainder of the quarter. Wright Wilson, Detroit Free Press, 18 Mar. 2023 With an open road ahead, the M Coupe goaded me into flat-footing its right pedal until the S54's crankshaft spun past its power peak of 7400 rpm and toward redline. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 15 Mar. 2023 Brown couldn’t goad Green on Sunday. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 June 2022
The impulsive Moon in your 11th House of Community goads active Mercury in your spending sector, drawing your eye to a friend's cool purchase and pushing you to buy a similar item for yourself. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 11 May 2023 As the contemplative Moon in your 4th House of Roots goads networker Mercury in your partnership sector, balance your longing to unburden yourself against the other person's comfort. Tarot Astrologers, Chicago Tribune, 11 May 2023 Musk’s warnings of civilizational destruction and call for regulation goad regulators into flying the yellow flag. Robert Zafft, Forbes, 19 Apr. 2023 Who talks you out of your worst ideas and goads you toward your best ones? Vulture, 4 Apr. 2023 The inventive Aquarius Moon goads impulsive Uranus, unwilling to relax or just let things be. Chicago Tribune, 18 Feb. 2023 Friendly insults are a goad and a salve. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2022 Everywhere Sharlet travels, far-right politicians at every level goad crowds into paranoia and violence with ideas born from Christian Nationalism. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb. 2023 The age of exploration, the first global corporations: Spice was the treasure on the far side of the map, a goad to invasion and domination. Ligaya Mishan Patricia Heal Leilin Lopez-toledo, New York Times, 18 Aug. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'goad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun and Verb

Middle English gode, from Old English gād spear, goad; akin to Langobardic gaida spear, and perhaps to Sanskrit hinoti he urges on

First Known Use


1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of goad was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near goad

Cite this Entry

“Goad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goad. Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a pointed rod used to urge an animal on
: something that urges : spur
goad verb

More from Merriam-Webster on goad

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