What would you like to do?

What is the etymology of the idiomatic expression to get your goat?

already exists.

Would you like to merge this question into it?

already exists as an alternate of this question.

Would you like to make it the primary and merge this question into it?

exists and is an alternate of .

To "get one's goat" means to greatly annoy someone. It dates to circa 1900. According to H.L.Mencken (http://www.answers.com/topic/h-l-mencken%29, this phrase is from American horse racing. Trainers would put a goat in a racing horse's stall to calm it; if the goat was removed, the horse would likely become agitated. However, there is no firm evidence for this origin.

Or, this may be a mispronunciation of "get your goad". A goad is a pointed rod used to urge on livestock. A modern equivalent of a goad is the cattle prod.

Or maybe quite literally, it seems to me that if a shepherd's goat is stolen, he'd be rightly pissed off.

There is an old French phrase "prendre la chèvre" which also means approximately "to get your goat" or "to take away the goat". Various places suggest this is because in old times a person's goat would be their only source of milk, so they'd be understandably miffed if someone took it!

Another possible origin of the phrase lies the earliest known reference to it - the book Life in Sing Sing, of 1904, in which goat is glossed as prison slang for "anger." I think this may be the key. After all, goats do, with much provocation, get angry. To bring out the "goat" in someone may take some doing, but will eventually have dramatic results.
8 people found this useful
Thanks for the feedback!

Is jinx an idiomatic expression?

No, it is a word. Idioms are phrases that make no sense unless you know the definition.

What are the Idiomatic Expressions in Filipino language?

Here are some idioms in Tagalog:   agaw-buhay -- naghihingalo   between life and death (literal=life about to be snatched away)    anak-pawis -- magsasaka; mang

What is the meaning of the idiomatic-expression 'peter out'?

The expression 'peter out' can mean something becoming less and less until there is no more; or for running out of energy and/or strength. Similar expressions for the second u

What is the idiomatic expression of a butter finger?

A butter finger is someone who drops something. It really applies to someone who drops stuff on a regular basis. It does not mean the candy bar nor does it mean you actually h

What is the meaning of the idiomatic expression on and off?

It usually applies to dating or some other activity and is said, on again, off again or by saying on and off it refers to the nature of the relationship. Sometimes the couple

What is the meaning of idiomatic expression by jove?

This is not an idiom. Jove is the same as Jupiter, who is Zeus. He was the head God in Greek and Roman mythology. "By Jove" is an oath -- you're swearing to something on the n

What does an idiomatic expressions convey?

It conveys different meaning than The Literal translation (word-by-word). "People use idioms to make their language richer and more colorful and to convey subtle shades of mea

What is the meaning of separate the sheep and goat in idiomatic expression?

Sheep and goats are similar animals. If you separate the sheep from the goats, you're dividing up a group of similar things or people and putting them into two groups. You oft