\ 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 One very bad day in a good man's life, a veteran grabbed a knife and tried to goad Ramsey County sheriff's deputies into ending his pain. Star Tribune, "A second chance for veterans gets a second chance at the Legislature," 24 Apr. 2021 Prosecutors, in court filings, had portrayed Angeli as one of the ringleaders of the incursion, using his bullhorn to goad people through the buildings. Richard Ruelas, The Arizona Republic, "Judge rules Jake Angeli, who raided U.S Capitol in fur hat and horns, remain jailed," 9 Mar. 2021 Certainly there is abundant evidence that the coronavirus can goad the immune system into overreaction during the acute phase of infection. New York Times, "What If You Never Get Better From Covid-19?," 21 Jan. 2021 Even if every other villa was somehow booked during a pandemic, producers certainly didn’t have to goad the men into waiting up for their co-stars after their Fantasy Suites like a pair of disappointed parents. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "The Bachelorette Found A Hellish New Way To Talk About Sex," 22 Dec. 2020 And Le Carré saw literature — his literature — as a way to perhaps goad a lethargic body politic to action. Scott Martelle, Los Angeles Times, "John le Carré, the spy who became the preeminent espionage novelist, dies at 89," 13 Dec. 2020 On the other hand, some people in the industry are wondering if the Beamer whispers are being purposefully exaggerated to goad another school — Virginia Tech, of course — into making a move and bringing Beamer home. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: 5 burning questions as college football coaching carousel speeds up," 3 Dec. 2020 And how much more ambitious might other countries be (or have been) in their climate aspirations if US diplomats were around to goad and fund them? Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, "The cost of a Trump term, in billions of tons of carbon emissions," 4 Nov. 2020 Republicans across the country will have gotten the message, and Trump will goad them by never going away, claiming the election had been snatched away from him illegally. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Even the Pandemic Couldn’t Kill Trumpism," 3 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Politics now in Illinois is about herding the people, using their emotions as the shepherd’s goad. John Kass, chicagotribune.com, "Column: With Madigan gone, can Illinois afford a Munchkin moment?," 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, "Leader of the opposition," 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, "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

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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Learn More about goad

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

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Goad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/goad. Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for goad

Nglish: Translation of goad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of goad for Arabic Speakers

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