noun, often attributive
\ ˈshēp \
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


angel, dove, innocent, lamb



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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

Ripe, yellow tomatoes brought a farm-market touch to a flaky pastry crust layered with creamy sheep’s milk ricotta, arugula pesto, and a sweet-tart balsamic drizzle. Craig Laban,, "The Bercy adds French brasserie sheen to thriving Ardmore scene," 13 July 2018 This is going to sound really gross, but the strings were actually made of sheep guts. Rebecca Farley,, "The Stars Of Eighth Grade Relive Their Middle School Horror Stories," 13 July 2018 Before the sheep drive, they were sent to the Grand Hotel, a beautiful old railroad hotel in nearby Big Timber, for lunch. Donna Bulseco, WSJ, "The Great American Road Trip Goes Luxe—For Better or Worse," 12 July 2018 Last June, a Pennsylvania man was fined $3,500 after sending Furadan, the brand name carbofuran was previously sold under, to workers at his New York farm and instructing them to pour it on sheep carcasses to kill hawks that had preyed on his lambs. Karin Brulliard And Dana Hedgpeth,, "Thirteen bald eagles were found dead in a field in Maryland. This is what killed them.," 20 June 2018 Pecorino is made from sheep’s milk, which contains more fat than cow’s milk. Alex Delany, Bon Appetit, "3 (Cheaper!) Substitutes for Parmesan Cheese," 11 June 2018 On second thought, maybe putting a live sheep onstage wasn’t such a great idea. Kerry Lengel, azcentral, "O.G. Original Greasepaint: How Peter J. Hill built a theater scene one show at a time," 9 June 2018 Could Bourdain top rotting shark guts in Iceland, with roasted sheep testicals in Morroco, with a still-beating cobra heart in Vietnam? Alexis Sobel Fitts, WIRED, "Without Anthony Bourdain, Food Instagram Culture Wouldn't Exist," 8 June 2018 What was the Fab Five doing in the rural grazing land of New South Wales, a part of the world better known for its sheep dips than its fashion tips? Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Fab Five from 'Queer Eye' Have Taken Over Yass, Australia," 6 June 2018

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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Phrases Related to sheep

separate the sheep from the goats

Statistics for sheep

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sheep

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

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More Definitions for sheep



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 \
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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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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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