\ 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

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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

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 Both fighters watched McGregor’s victory from cageside, and Masvidal even tried to goad McGregor in curious fashion by wearing the same Versace robe that McGregor famously wore a few years ago to an open workout. Greg Beacham, BostonGlobe.com, "Conor McGregor holds all the UFC cards after comeback win," 19 Jan. 2020 House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff essentially accused Republicans of trying to goad Vindman into revealing the identity of the Ukraine whistleblower. Aj Willingham, CNN, "5 things to know for October 30: Immigration, impeachment, China, Brexit, NCAA," 30 Oct. 2019 Ms Harris tried to goad her into a pointless and petty debate over whether Twitter should suspend Mr Trump’s account; Ms Warren brushed her off without breaking stride. J.f., The Economist, "Democratic candidates get the knives out for Elizabeth Warren," 16 Oct. 2019 Trump will, in the course of the campaign, try to goad his opponents into silence not only about him but, occasionally, about their allies. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "From “Lock Her Up” to “Send Her Back”: Trump in North Carolina," 18 July 2019 Their battles are waged in the courts, on social media and at rallies where Trump's rants against the journalists who cover him goad his fans into taunting the camera crews and booing the press pens. Anchorage Daily News, "A history of the Trump War on Media - the obsession not even coronavirus could stop," 29 Mar. 2020 At one point, Tyll goads the residents of a German village to take off their shoes, throw them into the air and then reclaim the ones that belong to them — watching with amusement as a brawl ensues. New York Times, "In His New Book, Daniel Kehlmann Says Hello to a Cruel World," 4 Feb. 2020 Ramirez finally goaded one regular who refused to touch the stuff into trying it, and the customer now orders it regularly, Ramirez said. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Mothership in Bay View makes elevated cocktails, and sells more Hamm's than anyone else," 27 Feb. 2020 President Trump reviewed the South Carolina debate performances of Democratic candidates, goading his potential opponents with criticisms and nicknames. Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, "Trump pillories Democratic primary candidates after 'crazy, chaotic' debate," 26 Feb. 2020 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

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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Statistics for goad

Last Updated

15 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Goad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goad. Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for goad


How to pronounce goad (audio)

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

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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

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