plural sheep
often attributive
: 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
: a timid defenseless creature
: a timid docile person
especially : one easily influenced or led
: leather prepared from the skins of sheep : sheepskin

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 after photographs of the princess-to-be wearing the sheep sweater flooded the media, things changed. Sonja Anderson, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Sep. 2023 Other moments rarely captured on film that viewers can expect in the new show include a group of humpback whales disrupting the hunt of a pod of killer whales in Antarctica and a guardian shepherd dog defending his flock of sheep from a hunting puma. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 10 Sep. 2023 On approach, the gravel parking lot is filled with stacks of camping gear and hulking 4x4s on massive, knobby tires; preposterously fluffy Icelandic sheep amble past A-frame cabins that dot the surrounding hills. Josh Condon, Robb Report, 9 Sep. 2023 Haggis is made of the liver, lungs, and heart of a sheep, beef or mutton suet, oatmeal, onion, and spices. Lydia Mansel, Travel + Leisure, 5 Sep. 2023 Near the village of Ram Hamdan, also in Idlib, Ali al-Mansour, 43, was tending his sheep one day in 2019 with his 5-year-old son in tow when the child handed him a metal object that looked like a toy and and asked him to take it apart. Time, 5 Sep. 2023 His collection includes monkeys, pigeon chicks, jumping spiders, and fetal sheep. Amanda Gefter, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2023 But bovids have fashioned a pastoral landscape that a hiker would recognize in crossing northern England, a place that cows and sheep have kept clear for centuries. WIRED, 26 Aug. 2023 Visitors can frequently see wildlife such as caribou, brown bears, moose, Dall sheep, bison, and wolves roaming the forests. Josh Laskin, Travel + Leisure, 1 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sheep.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near sheep

Cite this Entry

“Sheep.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


plural sheep
: any of various cud-chewing mammals that are stockier than the related goats and lack a beard in the male
especially : one raised for its wool, skin, or flesh
: a weak helpless person who is easily led

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