\ ˈgōd How to pronounce goad (audio) \
goaded; goading; goads

Definition of goad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

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



Definition of goad (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a pointed rod used to urge on an animal
2a : something that urges or stimulates into action : spur The accident has been a goad to the company to improve its safety record.
b : 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

Examples of goad in a Sentence

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But that doesn’t square with the serious decisions that came before this: decarceration, prioritization for the vaccines, and expenditure of resources to goad prisoners to queue up for the vaccine. Chandra Bozelko, STAT, 20 Nov. 2021 Internalizing that fact is an important task, not least because doing so might goad us to develop a nimbleness in our response to disasters and resilience in our supply chains once the worst discrete weather events have receded. Damon Linker, The Week, 18 Nov. 2021 Later in the episode, Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) tries to goad Greg into tussling in a last-ditch attempt to overpower somebody, anybody, at Waystar. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 8 Nov. 2021 In House of Gucci, Patrizia and Maurizio goad a susceptible Paolo into betraying his father, and Paolo hands over evidence to the IRS concerning the company’s shady dealings. Robert Daniels, Vulture, 25 Nov. 2021 Trump was annoyed, one adviser said, at the coverage of Democrats trying to goad him into Virginia. Michael Scherer And Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, 3 Nov. 2021 Once again, the forces of evil (but not SPECTRE because McClory held the rights to that organization) created tit-for-tat attacks to goad two superpowers into war. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 29 Sep. 2021 Gibbs gets there first and pulls a gun, and Samuels tries to goad Gibbs into shooting him. Sara Netzley, EW.com, 28 Sep. 2021 Some intense ambitions may goad you to burn the candle at both ends. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 14 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Thus began Johns’s career-long fascination with signs and symbols — not as a subject for representation, but as a goad to pure painting. Washington Post, 29 Sep. 2021 Politics now in Illinois is about herding the people, using their emotions as the shepherd’s goad. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, 20 Feb. 2021 It’s not solely Republicans who find themselves on the wrong end of Trump’s lash and goad. Varad Mehta, Washington Examiner, 17 Dec. 2020 Morton is applying those lessons to winning local district councils, which have the ability to declare local climate emergencies that serve as a goad to the federal government. Scott Wilson, Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2020 The book also served, throughout, as a worthwhile goad, spurring me to test its assertions against my own uneasy re-experience — as both avid user and resistant consumer of social photography. Leah Ollman, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2019 The only difference was that, during Marcus’s birth, the amplified heartbeat was with us through the entire labor, a goad, and solace. Jon Michaud, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2019 Stories like those emanating from San Francisco General can be powerful goads to federal lawmakers. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2019 Their fairly gentle demeanor means handlers can manage them with verbal commands and the judicious use of goad sticks. Denise Coffey, courant.com, 17 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'goad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of goad


1579, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

History and Etymology for goad

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

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Time Traveler for goad

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near goad

Goa cedar



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Statistics for goad

Last Updated

6 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Goad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goad. Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for goad



English Language Learners Definition of goad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to urge or force (someone) to do something



English Language Learners Definition of goad (Entry 2 of 2)

: a pointed rod used to make an animal move forward
: someone or something that urges or forces someone to do something


\ ˈgōd How to pronounce goad (audio) \

Kids Definition of goad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a pointed rod used to keep an animal moving
2 : something that urges or forces someone to act


goaded; goading

Kids Definition of goad (Entry 2 of 2)

: to urge or force a person or an animal to act … he goaded them toward school any way he could.— Jerry Spinelli, Maniac Magee

More from Merriam-Webster on goad

Nglish: Translation of goad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of goad for Arabic Speakers


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