a stick with a pointed or electrically charged end, for driving cattle, oxen, etc.; prod.
anything that pricks or wounds like such a stick.
something that encourages, urges, or drives; a stimulus.

verb (used with object)

to prick or drive with, or as if with, a goad; prod; incite.

Origin of goad

before 900; Middle English gode, Old English gād; compare Langobardic gaida spearhead
Related formsgoad·like, adjectiveun·goad·ed, adjective

Synonyms for goad

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for goad

Contemporary Examples of goad

Historical Examples of goad

  • The contempt he did not trouble to dissemble served but to goad them on.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • Nothing could have been better calculated to goad him to extremity.

  • It was like a goad to the painted, shiny-eyed harridan on the sofa.

    Under Western Eyes

    Joseph Conrad

  • But the spur, though it pricked, did not goad him into any action.

    The Doctor's Family

    Mrs. (Margaret) Oliphant

  • Time rules in those glades, Time with his whip and goad, and there is no peace.

British Dictionary definitions for goad



a sharp pointed stick for urging on cattle, etc
anything that acts as a spur or incitement


(tr) to drive with or as if with a goad; spur; incite
Derived Formsgoadlike, adjective

Word Origin for goad

Old English gād, of Germanic origin, related to Old English gār, Old Norse geirr spear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for goad

Old English gad "point, spearhead, arrowhead," from Proto-Germanic *gaido (cf. Lombardic gaida "spear"), from PIE *ghei- (cf. Sanskrit hetih "missile, projectile," himsati "he injures;" Avestan zaena- "weapon;" Greek khaios "shepherd's staff;" Old English gar "spear;" Old Irish gae "spear"). Figurative use is since 16c., probably from the Bible.


1570s, from goad (n.); earliest use is figurative. Related: Goaded; goading.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper