noun, often attributive
\ ˈshēp How to pronounce sheep (audio) \
plural sheep

Definition of sheep

1 : any of various hollow-horned typically gregarious ruminant mammals (genus Ovis) related to the goats but stockier and lacking a beard in the male specifically : one (O. aries) long domesticated especially for its flesh and wool
2a : a timid defenseless creature
b : a timid docile person especially : one easily influenced or led
3 : leather prepared from the skins of sheep : sheepskin

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Synonyms & Antonyms for sheep



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Examples of sheep in a Sentence

he came to see that the members of the cult were sheep who naively went along with whatever their leader dictated
Recent Examples on the Web Moreover, cows, and to a minor extent sheep, have played a key role in Minnesota agriculture since first European occupation of the land. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Making the best of a stinky situation," 17 Nov. 2019 Standing nearby was Nuvia Carolina Meza Romero, 37, accompanied by her daughter, Jessi, 8, who clutched a stuffed sheep. Los Angeles Times, "Mexico sends asylum-seekers south — with no easy way to return for U.S. court dates," 15 Oct. 2019 Above his head, lashed to a pole, were the huge spiraling horns of a Marco Polo sheep; the itinerant Italian merchant was the first Westerner to note them here in the Pamirs. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Yurts, Eagle Hunters and Rugged Solitude in Kyrgyzstan," 12 Oct. 2019 Celebrate the four kilometer-long calorie burning fest (which can be done alone or with a guide) with Oscypek, a fancy regional sheep’s cheese, stamped with eye-catching patterns. Laura Studarus, Marie Claire, "The Instagram Guide to Poland," 16 Sep. 2019 Muslims believe that as Ibrahim was about to sacrifice his son, God stopped his hand and gave him a sheep or ram in place of his son. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "Here's what you need to know about Eid al-Adha, one of Islam's biggest holidays," 9 Aug. 2019 Sumiko routinely dresses up as a sheep without a flock, much to the delight of the local children. Harry Windsor, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Queer Japan': Film Review | Outfest 2019," 22 July 2019 The case echoes the first report of the tick, which stalked a lone sheep paddocked in an affluent neighborhood in New Jersey in August 2017. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Savage tick-clone armies are sucking cows to death; experts fear for humans," 11 July 2019 Sega posted a photo of a sheep on the Bayonetta news feed this week, which calls to mind a prominent element of the 2011 puzzle game—and just in time for the PS4 remaster, due to release later this year. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "This week in games: Super Meat Boy for free, Sega teases a Catherine port," 4 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sheep.' 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 sheep

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sheep

Middle English, from Old English scēap; akin to Old High German scāf sheep

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Time Traveler for sheep

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sheep

Last Updated

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Sheep.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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More Definitions for sheep


How to pronounce sheep (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of sheep

: an animal with a thick woolly coat that is often raised for meat or for its wool and skin
: a person who does what other people say to do


\ ˈshēp How to pronounce sheep (audio) \
plural sheep

Kids Definition of sheep

1 : an animal related to the goat that is often raised for meat or for its wool and skin
2 : a weak helpless person who is easily led

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More from Merriam-Webster on sheep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sheep

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sheep

Spanish Central: Translation of sheep

Nglish: Translation of sheep for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sheep for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sheep

Comments on sheep

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


heavy with or as if with moisture

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