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

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 Sitting still In established populations of bighorns, anywhere from two-thirds to all of the sheep migrated to follow the foliage. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Transplanted mammals take a century to learn to “surf the green wave”," 7 Sep. 2018 Image This is surely the only money guru who begins his book with the image of a charred sheep nearing death, one of the casualties of a devastating wildfire that destroyed his farm outside Melbourne in 2014. Amelia Lester, New York Times, "Australians Can’t Get Enough of the Barefoot Investor," 29 June 2018 Horns from a sublegal sheep were also confiscated during the investigation. Anchorage Daily News, "Colorado hunting guide accused of wasting meat fined $35,000," 8 June 2018 Highlights of the morning will include a sheep shearing demonstration at 10 a.m. Children can make a nesting ball, take home a soap felting kit and try their hand at needle felt. Courant Community, "Community News For The Vernon Edition," 15 May 2018 The Longhorned tick, a species native to Asia, has made it through its first winter in the U.S. after being discovered on a sheep in New Jersey last year, reports. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "There's a new tick in the U.S. and experts are worried," 10 May 2018 In 2014, three years after graduating, Marabelle scooped up the Public Prize at the Hyères Festival with a collection inspired by a vintage photo of an Iranian sheep shearer. Vogue, "Coralie Marabelle Is Giving Eco Fashion a French Girl Twist," 1 Feb. 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

16 Mar 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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