• synonyms


verb (used without object), goose-stepped, goose-step·ping.
  1. to march in a goose step: Troops goose-stepped past the reviewing stand.
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Origin of goose-step

First recorded in 1875–80
Related formsgoose-step·per, noun

goose step

  1. a marching step of some infantries in which the legs are swung high and kept straight and stiff.
  2. a military exercise in which the body is balanced on one foot, without advancing, while the other foot is swung forward and back.
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Origin of goose step

First recorded in 1800–10
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for goose-step

Historical Examples

  • When all the dances had ended, the dancers marched out with the goose-step.

    The Chinese Fairy Book


  • It was fun watching the new recruits learning the goose-step.

    Germany in War Time

    Mary Ethel McAuley

  • I laughed outright at one poor chap who was trying to goose-step.

    Germany in War Time

    Mary Ethel McAuley

  • He's a soldier, he is—not a raw recruit that don't know the goose-step.

    The Lost Prince

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • We'll all have to goose-step as the Crown Prince orders or—be shot.

British Dictionary definitions for goose-step

goose step

  1. a military march step in which the leg is swung rigidly to an exaggerated height, esp as in the German army in the Third Reich
  2. an abnormal gait in animals
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verb goose-step -steps, -stepping or -stepped
  1. (intr) to march in goose step
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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-step

goose step


1806, originally was a military drill to teach balance; "to stand on each leg alternately and swing the other back and forth" (which, presumably, reminded someone of a goose's way of walking); in reference to "marching without bending the knees" (as in Nazi military reviews) it apparently is first recorded 1916. As a verb by 1854.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

goose-step in Culture

goose step

A straight-legged style of military marching used by the armies of several nations, but associated particularly with the army of Germany under the Nazis.

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The term is sometimes used to suggest the unthinking loyalty of followers or soldiers: “Brown has a goose-step mentality.”
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.