"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Monday, 27 June 2011


I guess most people are aware that a goose is a big fluffy, feathery thing that either floats around lakes or sits in gravy at Christmas. Technically - A large waterbird (esp. the genera Anser and Branta), with a long neck, short legs, webbed feet, and a short broad bill. Generally geese are larger than ducks and have longer necks and shorter bills.

Goose can be used specifically to mean the female of the bird whose male is called a gander.

But how many of its other meanings are you aware of?

A simpleton.

Anything that energizes, strengthens, or the like: to give the economy a badly needed goose.

A tailor's smoothing iron with a curved handle.

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.

Goose are also a Belgian electro rock band. Bet you didn't know that one!

To goose (slang) - to poke someone between the buttocks.

To goose - to prod or urge to action or an emotional reaction.

To goose - to strengthen or improve (often followed by up ): Let's goose up the stew with some wine.

To goose - to increase; raise (often followed by up ): to goose up government loans in weak industries.

To goose - to give a spurt of fuel to (a motor) to increase speed.

Goose - an affectionate term for a close member of the opposite sex (or a younger member of one's own) - often meaning that they were silly but in a pleasant way.


To cook someone's goose - to ruin someone's hopes, plans, chances, etc.: His goose was cooked when they found the stolen gems in his pocket.

All his geese are swans - he constantly exaggerates the importance of a person or thing.

A wild goose chase - an unsuccessful hunt for something.

Kill the goose that lays the golden eggs - to sacrifice future benefits for the sake of momentary present needs.

Goose step - originally (1806) 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.

What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander - What is suitable for a woman is suitable for a man or, more broadly, what is good enough for one person is good enough for the other.


1 comment:

  1. I hardly knew any of these! In German, to call a woman a goose is not very nice, but not vulgar, either. It implies that she is silly or/and a bit dim.
    On some farms, a big goose (or gander?) very successfully acts as a watchdog. They can turn really nasty if they feel provoked or threatened.