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

Your holiday dessert table could use a little more character — and these sheep, pig, bunny, and chick cookies will do the trick. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Easy Vanilla Sugar Cookies That'll Bring Spring Cheer to Your Holiday Table," 27 Mar. 2019 Muslims often slaughter sheep, cattle or goats on the holiday, distributing some meat to the poor. Julhas Alam, Fox News, "Rohingya refugees celebrate holiday amid memories of home," 22 Aug. 2018 At least eight people were bitten since Wednesday, along with a dog and some sheep, CBS New York reports. CBS News, "Coyote that bit 8 people in New York tests positive for rabies," 5 Mar. 2018 It's carried by animals, including cattle, sheep, and goats. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "Trash your romaine lettuce and don’t eat any in restaurants, says the CDC," 21 Nov. 2018 But tougher measures were needed in Queensland, where dingoes were dining on millions of sheep every year. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Longest Fence in the World Would Take 6 Months to Walk Around," 4 Dec. 2017 Both dogs and sheep were able to get to the end of the maze more quickly. Caren Chesler, Popular Mechanics, "A Vision Quest," 6 Mar. 2019 The movement of the sea, flowing toward the island, was a kiss; the grazing sheep kissed the earth; the air amid the leaves and grass was a lament of kisses. Lily Tuck, WSJ, "‘Arturo’s Island’ Review: Childhood’s End," 22 Feb. 2019 That might sound as dry as a middle school science class, but Ignotofsky enlivens the concepts by illustrating them, showing how carbon moves through a sheep snacking on grass, pooping on the ground, and exhaling into the air. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Get a grip on the natural world with this beautiful manual for the planet," 15 Sep. 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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Statistics for sheep

Last Updated

27 Apr 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).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

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