\ ˈgōd How to pronounce goad (audio) \

Definition of goad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


goaded; goading; goads

Definition of goad (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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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

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 Verb The threat of legal action should goad them into complying. tried to goad me into auditioning for the play
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "In Australia, fires heat up environmental movement," 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, "Review: Writing the book on selfies — sociologist reframes social photos," 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, "Julius: The Story of a Premature Birth," 15 Aug. 2019 Stories like those emanating from San Francisco General can be powerful goads to federal lawmakers. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: How the hospital lobby derailed legislation to protect you from surprise hospital bills," 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, "Carrying On Agricultural Traditions In Brooklyn," 17 June 2019 The largest group carried goads for their teams of working steers. Denise Coffey, courant.com, "Carrying On Agricultural Traditions In Brooklyn," 17 June 2019 The partisan media is its instrument of choice, and the hotter a brouhaha in the news over whatever issue—taxes, entitlements, race, religion, class, trade, defense, choose your political goad—the greater the victory for Russia. WSJ, "Russia Wanted to Disrupt U.S. and Has Succeeded," 11 June 2018 As the 30-year-old United man made his way into the stadium, a section of Liverpool fans approached him and proceeded the goad and hurl a number of verbal obscenities his way. SI.com, "VIDEO: Section of Liverpool Fans Heckle Manchester United Star Upon Arrival at UCL Final in Kiev," 28 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb A week before the election, in a to-camera monologue that was widely shared, the BBC’s most feared political interviewer goaded and chastised the prime minister for avoiding a grilling. The Economist, "Britain’s election fallout spells danger for the BBC," 21 Dec. 2019 Fans from both groups then goaded each other inside the stadium, although they were separated by fencing and prevented from any physical confrontation. Washington Post, "Neymar stars as PSG beats Galatasaray in Champions League," 11 Dec. 2019 On my third run up and down the track, an instructor goaded me into hitting 25 miles per hour. oregonlive, "What it’s like to drive a MAX train: TriMet opens doors to raise awareness during rail safety week," 27 Sep. 2019 But police, the judge said, goaded Spear into making additional statements. Clifford Ward, chicagotribune.com, "Peoria man originally charged with murder in 1994 death of Lisle woman pleads guilty to involuntary manslaughter in wake of ruling on police interview," 23 Sep. 2019 Canadian dairy farmers on Monday goaded their U.S. counterparts for producing vastly more than the market demands. Geoffrey Mohan, latimes.com, "Behind Trump's dairy rant, a cheesed-off Wisconsin and Canada's sacred cows," 12 June 2018 Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said after the game, goaded into uttering the sentence Jackson used earlier this season. Dan Labbe, cleveland, "The Browns were just another checkpoint for the Ravens on Sunday, so how do they close the gap?," 23 Dec. 2019 Call it upstaging, call it what you will, but Folmar’s physical and verbal antics (deftly goaded by Coleman) are the stuff of comedic bliss. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "Review: The accent is on the hilarious at the Denver Center’s “Twelfth Night”," 30 Nov. 2019 Before the pair met at a historic summit in Singapore in 2018, followed by a second summit in Vietnam in 2019, the two leaders had goaded each other over North Korea's missile testing. Dartunorro Clark, NBC News, "White House walks back Trump comment that first lady has 'gotten to know' Kim Jong Un," 26 Aug. 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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1579, 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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Statistics for goad

Last Updated

23 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Goad.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goad. Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for goad


How to pronounce goad (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of goad

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



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

: to urge or force (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on goad

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for goad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with goad

Spanish Central: Translation of goad

Nglish: Translation of goad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of goad for Arabic Speakers

Comments on goad

What made you want to look up goad? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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