Who uses ?
The goat emoji is used to signify that someone is highly talented, arguably even the Greatest of All Time. This label is often applied to athletes, and especially to hip-hop stars.
The history of GOAT being used to describe athletes owes much of its popularity to Muhammad Ali. He famously used The Greatest of All Time in reference to himself in the 1960s, though only the spelled-out version. He would often shorten this to simply The Greatest.
While the acronym GOAT seems to have first appeared in the 1990s, it was not until rapper LL Cool J released his album G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) in 2000 that the term achieved widespread recognition. The album was a huge success, and cemented the now seemingly random connection between worldwide success and the goat emoji.
As a result of the term and emoji’s popularity, it’s becoming increasingly common to see important figures and/or record-breaking celebrities referred to as GOATs as a compliment. On social media, the goat emoji is enough to get the statement across without spelling it out.
Sometimes GOAT isn’t even stylized as an acronym, which suggests that in certain circles, people are so familiar with this expression that it requires no explanation. This is the case with the 2004 book Goat: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali.