\ 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 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 So maybe biology doesn't need much of a goad to get started. NBC News, "Simple math shows how many space aliens may be out there," 26 Jan. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Locals accused the activists of constantly goading them, thrusting video cameras in their faces, and showing photos of dead whales and dolphins to schoolchildren. Simon Denyer, Washington Post, "At Japan’s dolphin hunt, a struggle between local traditions and global anger.," 14 Oct. 2019 The people have to simply be goaded and herded into obeying the mai-baap sarkar’s* wishes. K.n.c., The Economist, "India cannot flourish without individual freedom," 16 Aug. 2019 In the original, Herod mocks and goads Jesus before sending him back to be crucified. Stephen Daw, Billboard, "Randy Rainbow Declares Trump Is Not the 'Chosen One' in New 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Parody," 29 Aug. 2019 The dulcet tones of the mad artificial intelligence SHODAN echo in your ears, taunting and goading at the same time. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s favorite video games from our first 10 years, 1998-2008," 20 Aug. 2019 Some are linking Trump’s inflammatory and goading language to the white supremacist ideology motivating the gunmen behind these recent mass shootings. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Rihanna Criticizes Trump After the El Paso and Dayton Shootings," 5 Aug. 2019 The supporter had been goading the forward following Rennes' shoot-out victory. SI.com, "Neymar: 6 Defining Moments of the Brazilian's Two Years at Paris Saint-Germain," 3 Aug. 2019 The unresolved issues at the root of the story, with hardened cynic Sean repeatedly goading Frank for being a docile loser, have the painfully authentic feel of real family feuds. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'End of Sentence': Film Review | Edinburgh 2019," 30 June 2019 Angelo Rodríguez goaded Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis out from his box then delivered a pass to that Ethan Finlay tried to head into an empty net. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Dynamo record first win under interim coach Davy Arnaud," 11 Sep. 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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Statistics for goad

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

Time Traveler for goad

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

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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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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