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


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

But some scientists are pursuing a different solution: growing fully human organs in pigs, sheep, or other animals, which could then be harvested for transplants. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "Top Stories: Monarchs that don’t migrate, Jason stays alive, and human organs in animals," 28 June 2019 An insecticide bath took care of the bugs on the sheep, and a hard freeze in November eliminated the ones in the paddock. Maryn Mckenna, WIRED, "The Terrifying Unknowns of an Exotic Invasive Tick," 28 June 2019 To ensure that the upper atmosphere could support life, the inventors first launch a sheep, a duck and a rooster. Jonathon Keats, Discover Magazine, "The Origins of Flight, From Birds to Bugs to Planes," 21 June 2019 Just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland, competitors are grooming their livestock, including Clydesdale horses and sheep, before the start of the Royal Highland Show. Mark Dufrene, The Mercury News, "Photos: Primping and grooming for Scotland’s Royal Highland Show," 19 June 2019 Kate didn't hesitate to don an outdoorsy jacket, jeans, and Chloé boots to meet locals in Keswick—or to shear a sheep at a traditional mountainside farm. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Kate Middleton Wears a Lovely Elie Saab Dress to the First Day of Royal Ascot," 18 June 2019 The hot-air balloon had begun life as a visual poem, though not at the hands of a poet; rather, a rooster, a duck, and a sheep were the first passengers ever to board one, belonging to the Montgolfier brothers. María Gainza, Harper's magazine, "Both Sides Now," 10 May 2019 Interstate 5 was a dirt road and our property was home to dogs, cats, birds, goats, sheep, and even a burro named Milton. Denise Davidson, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Encinitas nonprofit trying to meet the ‘needs of the community, human and animal’," 26 Apr. 2019 By the end of the day, the sheep was drinking water from army canteens and eating the desert grass that the soldiers had gathered for it. Robert Draper, National Geographic, "How a trip through the Sahara reflects Niger’s fragile state," 13 June 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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Statistics for sheep

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sheep

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


food or victuals

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