What would you like to do?

Where did the phrase 'trying to get your goat' come from and what does it mean?

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 .

I believe the expression 'to get your goat' has it's origins in horse racing. Race horses are very high-strung animals. Goats are often used as companion animals, to keep a horse calm. Someone wanting to fix a race would slip into the barn the night before the race, steal the goat, then an upset, distracted horse would run a bad race. Hence, if you are upset and not at your best, it is said that 'someone has gotten your goat.' Further, this cliche has been replaced by the modern slang idiom, " push your buttons ", meaning successfully annoying you or even angering you. Not as colourful imagery as the original expression, but much easier to understand for people in a modern technological society. Other Opinions: I disagree. I think this expression comes from the use of a goat as bait for big game hunters. For instance, if the tiger" gets your goat", and you don't bag a tiger, you've got one ticked off hunter on your hands. Most horse people I know keep a donkey as a stablemate for skittish horses.
The racehorse story is correct. It's possible that there are two separate origins for the same term, but in the USA, where there are no tigers, the goat was used as a companion for the high-strung racehorse, and if someone got his goat, the horse would run a bad race. Or it might backfire and the horse runs faster than ever. But that's the American origin of "get your goat," and Brewers Origins of Phrase and Fable classifies this as an "Americanism," so that casts the tiger story into great doubt.
130 people found this useful
Thanks for the feedback!

What does the phrase to try off impeachments mean?

  Answer   It means that the official to whom the impeachment applies has the right to a trial. The impeachment alone means nothing; it is only the first part of a t

Where did the phrase get your goat come from?

  There are two suggested sources.   One based on the fact that racehorses had a goat for company to keep them quiet. If you stole the goat you upset the horse and his

What is Meaning phrase 'come now'?

Maritime captains of ships invite persons knocking on their door to enter by saying in a loud, commanding voice,"Come". If the person does not enter, the captain repeats himse

What does the phrase 'the coming judgment' mean?

The phrase "the coming Judgment" is just that -- THE JUDGMENT IS YET TO COME!  It hasn't happened yet... in spite of the false beliefs of millions of deceived people in the w

Where did the phrase 'trying to get your goat?

It means to make one angry. It has been said that it comes from horse racing. Racing horses are high strung and skittish. They often have a goat as a companion to relax them.