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goose

[goos]
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noun, plural geese for 1, 2, 4, 8; goos·es for 5–7.
  1. any of numerous wild or domesticated, web-footed swimming birds of the family Anatidae, especially of the genera Anser and Branta, most of which are larger and have a longer neck and legs than the ducks.
  2. the female of this bird, as distinguished from the male, or gander.
  3. the flesh of a goose, used as food.
  4. a silly or foolish person; simpleton.
  5. Slang. a poke between the buttocks to startle.
  6. Informal. anything that energizes, strengthens, or the like: to give the economy a badly needed goose.
  7. a tailor's smoothing iron with a curved handle.
  8. an obsolete board game played with dice and counters in which a player whose cast falls in a square containing the picture of a goose is allowed to advance double the number of his or her throw.
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verb (used with object), goosed, goos·ing.
  1. Slang. to poke (a person) between the buttocks to startle.
  2. Informal.
    1. to prod or urge to action or an emotional reaction: The promise of time off may goose the workers and increase profits.
    2. to strengthen or improve (often followed by up): Let's goose up the stew with some wine.
    3. to increase; raise (often followed by up): to goose up government loans in weak industries.
    4. to give a spurt of fuel to (a motor) to increase speed.
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Idioms plural geese.
  1. cook someone's goose, Informal. to ruin someone's hopes, plans, chances, etc.: His goose was cooked when they found the stolen gems in his pocket.
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Origin of goose

before 1000; Middle English gose, goos, Old English gōs (plural gēs); cognate with German Gans, Old Norse gās; compare Sanskrit haṅsa, Greek chḗn, Latin ānser
Related formsgoose·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

desireimpetusinterestwishincentivemotivereasonencouragementimpulsecatalystinclinationseductionaidsupportliftassistanceimprovementadvancechickengoose

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British Dictionary definitions for goose

goose1

noun plural geese (ɡiːs)
  1. any of various web-footed long-necked birds of the family Anatidae: order Anseriformes. They are typically larger and less aquatic than ducks and are gregarious and migratorySee also brent goose, barnacle goose, greylag, snow goose Related adjective: anserine
  2. the female of such a bird, as opposed to the male (gander)
  3. informal a silly person
  4. plural gooses a pressing iron with a long curving handle, used esp by tailors
  5. the flesh of the goose, used as food
  6. all his geese are swans he constantly exaggerates the importance of a person or thing
  7. cook someone's goose informal
    1. to spoil someone's plans
    2. to bring about someone's ruin, downfall, etc
  8. kill the goose that lays the golden eggs to sacrifice future benefits for the sake of momentary present needsSee also golden goose
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Word Origin

Old English gōs; related to Old Norse gās, Old High German gans, Old Irish gēiss swan, Greek khēn, Sanskrit hainsas

goose2

verb
  1. (tr) to prod (a person) playfully in the behind
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noun plural gooses
  1. a playful prod in the behind
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Word Origin

C19: from goose 1, probably from a comparison with the jabbing of a goose's bill
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 goose

n.

"a large waterfowl proverbially noted, I know not why, for foolishness" [Johnson], Old English gos, from Proto-Germanic *gans- "goose" (cf. Old Frisian gos, Old Norse gas, Old High German gans, German Gans "goose"), from PIE *ghans- (cf. Sanskrit hamsah (masc.), hansi (fem.), "goose, swan;" Greek khen; Latin anser; Polish gęś "goose;" Lithuanian zasis "goose;" Old Irish geiss "swan"), probably imitative of its honking.

Spanish ganso "goose" is from a Germanic source. Loss of "n" sound is normal before "s." Plural form geese is an example of i-mutation.

Meaning "simpleton" is from 1540s. To cook one's goose first attested 1845, of unknown origin; attempts to connect it to Swedish history and Greek fables have been unconvincing. Goose egg "zero" first attested 1866 in baseball slang. The goose that laid the golden egg is from Aesop.

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v.

"jab in the rear," c.1880, from goose (n.), possibly from resemblance of the upturned thumb to a goose's beak. Related: Goosed; goosing. In 19c. theatrical slang, to be goosed meant "to be hissed" (by 1818).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with goose

goose

In addition to the idioms beginning with goose

  • goose egg
  • goose pimples

also see:

  • cook someone's goose
  • gone coon (goose)
  • kill the goose that laid the golden eggs
  • sauce for the goose
  • wild goose chase
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.