[ gohl-kee-per ]
/ ˈgoʊlˌki pər /
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(in ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, etc.) a player whose chief duty is to prevent the ball or puck from crossing or entering the goal.
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Origin of goalkeeper

First recorded in 1650–60; goal + keeper


goalkeeping, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does goalkeeper mean?

In sports like soccer (football) and hockey, the goalkeeper is the player positioned in front of the goal whose job is to prevent the ball or puck from entering it (or crossing the goal line).

Goalkeeper can be used to refer to the position or the player. A goalkeeper might say they play goalkeeper. A common informal word for goalkeeper is goalie. In some sports, a goalkeeper is called a goaltender. In soccer, the goalkeeper is sometimes called the keeper.

Example: When I played soccer, I was the goalkeeper, and I was pretty good, especially because I was quick and had long arms for my age.

Where does goalkeeper come from?

The first records of the word goalkeeper come from the 1600s. The word keeper is used in a similar way in many other compound words, such as groundskeeper and zookeeper.

In a lot of sports, the object of the game is to get the ball or puck into the goal. And in most of those sports, there is someone there to guard the goal and try to prevent that from happening: the goalkeeper. Soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse are some of the sports that have goalkeepers. In these sports, players are typically not allowed to touch the ball or puck with their hands, with the exception of the goalkeeper (under certain circumstances). Goalkeepers usually stay right in front of the goal in order to block shots by the opposing team. They’re often known for their quickness and agility. Because they have to stand in the way of hard projectiles, goalkeepers in ice hockey, field hockey, and lacrosse usually wear a mask and other padded equipment.

Did you know ... ?

What are some synonyms for goalkeeper?

What are some words that share a root or word element with goalkeeper

What are some words that often get used in discussing goalkeeper?


How is goalkeeper used in real life?

Goalkeepers are very commonly called goalies. The term goalkeeper is especially used in soccer.



Try using goalkeeper!

Is goalkeeper used correctly in the following sentence?

Our team needs a goalkeeper—can you play?

How to use goalkeeper in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for goalkeeper

/ (ˈɡəʊlˌkiːpə) /

sport a player in the goal whose duty is to prevent the ball, puck, etc, from entering or crossing it

Derived forms of goalkeeper

goalkeeping, noun
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