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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

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
Recent Examples on the Web
Don’t take unnecessary risks or let anyone goad you into participating in something frivolous or physically daring. Eugenia Last, The Mercury News, 16 June 2024 Students and faculty were met with force — goaded into physical resistance that can then be classified as violence and delegitimized. Voice Of The People, New York Daily News, 6 May 2024
As a goad to European diplomacy, talk of arming Ukraine turned out not to be a bad idea. Foreign Affairs, 24 Feb. 2015 On the other hand, as the perceptive Moon in your 12th House of the Subconscious goads the vital Sun in your verbal 3rd house, choosing to analyze these images has the capacity to lead you to rewarding insights. Tarot.com, Hartford Courant, 30 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for goad 

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 14 Jul. 2024.

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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