- goad (v.)
- 1570s, from goad (n.); earliest use is figurative, "incite, stimulate, instigate." Literal use by 1610s. Related: Goaded; goading.
- goal (n.)
- 1530s, "end point of a race," of uncertain origin. It appears once before this (as gol), in a poem from early 14c. and with an apparent sense of "boundary, limit." Perhaps from Old English *gal "obstacle, barrier," a word implied by gælan "to hinder" and also found in compounds (singal, widgal). That would make it a variant or figurative use of Middle English gale "a way, course." Also compare Old Norse geil "a narrow glen, a passage." Or from Old French gaule "long pole, stake," which is from Germanic. Sports sense of "place where the ball, etc. is put to score" is attested from 1540s. Figurative sense of "object of an effort" is from 1540s.
- goal-post (n.)
- 1834, from goal (n.) + post (n.1). To move the goal posts as a figurative expression for "cheat by changing the objectives after the process has begun" is by 1988.
- goalie (n.)
- 1921, from goal + -ie. Probably a shortening of goal-tender (1889), which tends to be the term used in ice hockey and lacrosse, as opposed to goal-keeper (1650s).
- goalless (adj.)
- 1835, of journeys, etc., "without a fixed destination or purpose," from goal + -less. By 1903 of sports matches where nobody scores. Related: Goallessly; goallessness.
- goat (n.)
- Old English gat "she-goat," from Proto-Germanic *gaito (cognates: Old Saxon get, Old Norse geit, Danish gjed, Middle Dutch gheet, Dutch geit, Old High German geiz, German Geiß, Gothic gaits "goat"), from PIE *ghaid-o- "young goat," also forming words for "to play" (cognates: Latin hædus "kid").
They are sprightly, capricious, and wanton, and their strong odor (technically called hircine) is proverbial. [Century Dictionary]
The word for "male goat" in Old English was bucca or gatbucca (see buck (n.)) until late 1300s shift to he-goat, she-goat (Nanny goat is 18c., billy goat 19c.). Meaning "licentious man" is attested from 1670s (hence goat-milker, name of a bird formerly believed to suck the milk from goats at night, but also old slang for "a prostitute," also "the female pudendum"). To get (someone's) goat is from 1910, American English, perhaps from French prendre sa chèvre "take one's source of milk," or more likely with notion of "to steal a goat mascot" from a racehorse, warship, fire company, military unit, etc.
... to become separated from your goat is a thing no soldierman is willing to contemplate. ["Letitia, Nursery Corps, U.S.A.," in American Magazine, vol. 64, June 1907]
- goatee (n.)
- "pointed tuft of beard on the chin of a shaven face," 1844 (as goaty; current spelling by 1847), from goaty (adj.). So called from its resemblance to a male goat's chin hairs.
- goatherd (n.)
- "one whose occupation is the care of goats," early 13c. (as a surname), from or replacing Old English gat-hyrde (West Saxon); see goat + herd (n.).
- goatish (adj.)
- "resembling a goat," especially "stinking" or "lustful," 1520s, from goat + -ish. Related: Goatishly; goatishness.
- goatskin (n.)
- late 14c., from goat + skin (n.).
- goaty (adj.)
- "goat-like," c. 1600, from goat + -y (2).
- gob (n.1)
- "a mouthful, lump," late 14c., from gobbet.
- gob (n.2)
- "mouth," 1540s, from Irish gob "mouth," and thus related to the other English noun gob (see gobbet). Gob-stopper "type of large hard candy" is from 1928.
- gobbet (n.)
- late 13c., "a fragment," from Old French gobet "piece, mouthful," diminutive of gobe "mouthful, lump," related to gober "to gulp, swallow down," probably from Gaulish *gobbo- (compare Irish gob "mouth," Gaelic gob "beak").
- gobble (v.1)
- "eat greedily, swallow hastily," c. 1600, probably partly echoic, partly frequentative and based on gob (n.1), via gobben "drink something greedily" (early 15c.). Related: Gobbled; gobbling.
- gobble (v.2)
- "make a turkey noise," 1670s, probably imitative, perhaps influenced by gobble (v.1) or gargle. As a noun from 1781.
- gobbledygook (n.)
- also gobbledegook, "the overinvolved, pompous talk of officialdom" [Klein], 1944, American English, first used by U.S. Rep. Maury Maverick, D.-Texas, (1895-1954), a grandson of the original maverick and chairman of U.S. Smaller War Plants Corporation during World War II, in a memo dated March 30, 1944, banning "gobbledygook language" and mock-threateaning, "anyone using the words activation or implementation will be shot." Maverick said he made up the word in imitation of turkey noise. Another word for it, coined about the same time, was bafflegab (1952).
- gobbler (n.)
- 1737, "turkey-cock," agent noun from gobble (v.2). As "one who eats greedily" 1755, from gobble (v.1).
- desert in central Asia, from Mongolian gobi "desert." Gobi Desert is thus a pleonasm (see Sahara).
- goblet (n.)
- large, handle-less, crater-shaped drinking vessel for wine, etc.," late 14c., from Old French gobelet "goblet, cup" (13c.), diminutive of gobel "cup," probably related to gobe "gulp down" (see gob).
- goblin (n.)
- early 14c., "a devil, incubus, mischievous and ugly fairy," from Norman French gobelin (12c., as Medieval Latin Gobelinus, the name of a spirit haunting the region of Evreux, in chronicle of Ordericus Vitalis), of uncertain origin; said to be unrelated to German kobold (see cobalt), or from Medieval Latin cabalus, from Greek kobalos "impudent rogue, knave," kobaloi "wicked spirits invoked by rogues," of unknown origin. Another suggestion is that it is a diminutive of the proper name Gobel.
Though French gobelin was not recorded until almost 250 years after appearance of the English term, it is mentioned in the Medieval Latin text of the 1100's, and few people who believed in folk magic used Medieval Latin. [Barnhart]
Thou schalt not drede of an arowe fliynge in the dai, of a gobelyn goynge in derknessis [Psalm 91:5 in the later Wycliffe Bible, late 14c.]
- gobo (n.)
- "portable screen or wall to absorb sound or reflect light," 1930, American English, Hollywood movie set slang, of unknown origin, perhaps somehow from go-between.
- gobsmacked (adj.)
- also gob-smacked, by 1985, U.K. slang, from gob (n.2) "mouth" + past participle of smack (v.).
- goby (n.)
- kind of fish, 1769, a modern scientific usage, from Latin gobius, from Greek kobios, name of a type of small fish, of unknown origin. Related: Gobiid.
- god (n.)
- Old English god "supreme being, deity; the Christian God; image of a god; godlike person," from Proto-Germanic *guthan (cognates: Old Saxon, Old Frisian, Dutch god, Old High German got, German Gott, Old Norse guð, Gothic guþ), from PIE *ghut- "that which is invoked" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic zovo "to call," Sanskrit huta- "invoked," an epithet of Indra), from root *gheu(e)- "to call, invoke."
But some trace it to PIE *ghu-to- "poured," from root *gheu- "to pour, pour a libation" (source of Greek khein "to pour," also in the phrase khute gaia "poured earth," referring to a burial mound; see found (v.2)). "Given the Greek facts, the Germanic form may have referred in the first instance to the spirit immanent in a burial mound" [Watkins]. See also Zeus. In either case, not related to good.
Popular etymology has long derived God from good; but a comparison of the forms ... shows this to be an error. Moreover, the notion of goodness is not conspicuous in the heathen conception of deity, and in good itself the ethical sense is comparatively late. [Century Dictionary, 1902]
Originally a neuter noun in Germanic, the gender shifted to masculine after the coming of Christianity. Old English god probably was closer in sense to Latin numen. A better word to translate deus might have been Proto-Germanic *ansuz, but this was used only of the highest deities in the Germanic religion, and not of foreign gods, and it was never used of the Christian God. It survives in English mainly in the personal names beginning in Os-.
I want my lawyer, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, because it means that I shall be cheated and robbed and cuckolded less often. ... If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. [Voltaire]
God bless you after someone sneezes is credited to St. Gregory the Great, but the pagan Romans (Absit omen) and Greeks had similar customs. God's gift to _____ is by 1938. God of the gaps means "God considered solely as an explanation for anything not otherwise explained by science;" the exact phrase is from 1949, but the words and the idea have been around since 1894. God-forbids was rhyming slang for kids ("children"). God squad "evangelical organization" is 1969 U.S. student slang. God's acre "burial ground" imitates or partially translates German Gottesacker, where the second element means "field;" the phrase dates to 1610s in English but was noted as a Germanism as late as Longfellow.
How poore, how narrow, how impious a measure of God, is this, that he must doe, as thou wouldest doe, if thou wert God. [John Donne, sermon preached in St. Paul's Jan. 30, 1624/5]
- god-awful (adj.)
- also godawful, according to OED from 1878 as "impressive," 1897 as "impressively terrible," but it seems not to have been much in print before c. 1924, from God + awful. The God might be an intensifier or the whole might be from the frequent God's awful (vengeance, judgment, etc.), a common phrase in religious literature.
- also goddamn, late 14c., "the characteristic national oath of Englishmen" [Century Dictionary]. from God + damn (v.). Goddam (Old French godon, 14c.) was said to have been a term of reproach applied to the English by the French.
Mais, fussent-ils [les anglais] cent mille Goddem de plus qu'a present, ils n'auront pas ce royaume. [Joan of Arc, 1431, quoted in Prosper de Barante's "Histoire des ducs de Bourgogne"]
Hence French godan "fraud, deception, humbug" (17c.). Compare Old French godeherre "characteristic exclamation uttered by the Germans," and goditoet, also considered a characteristic exclamation of the English. Goddammes was the nickname given by Puritans to Cavaliers, in consequence of the latter's supposed frequent employment of that oath.
- god-daughter (n.)
- "female godchild, girl one sponsors at her baptism," mid-13c., from god + daughter, modifying or replacing Old English goddohtor.
- God-fearing (adj.)
- "reverencing and obeying God," 1759, from God + fearing, present participle adjective from fear (v.). Old English in the same sense had godfyrht.
- godchild (n.)
- "child one sponsors at baptism," c. 1200, "in ref. to the spiritual relation assumed to exist between them" [Century Dictionary], from God + child. The Old English word was godbearn
- goddess (n.)
- mid-14c., female deity in a polytheistic religion, from god + fem. suffix -esse (see -ess). The Old English word was gyden, corresponding to Dutch godin, German Göttin, Danish gudine, Swedish gudinna. Of mortal women by 1570s. Related: Goddesshood.
- goddot (interj.)
- "certainly, surely," c. 1300, corruption of God wot "God knows."
- godfather (n.)
- man who sponsors one at baptism and guarantees the child's religious education, late 12c., from God + father (n.), modifying or replacing Old English godfaeder. In the Mafia sense from 1963 in English; popularized by Mario Puzo's novel (1969) and the movie based on it (1972).
- godforsaken (adj.)
- also god-forsaken, God-forsaken, "forlorn, desolate, miserable," 1816, from God + forsaken.
- masc. proper name, from Old French Godefrei (Modern French Godefroi), from Old High German Godafrid (German Gottfried), literally "the peace of God," from Old High German got "God" (see god) + fridu "peace" (see Frederick). In early 20c., the name sometimes was used as a slang euphemism for "God."
- godhead (n.)
- c. 1200, "divine nature, deity, divinity," from god + Middle English -hede (see -head). Along with maidenhead, the sole survival of this form of the suffix. Old English had godhad "divine nature." Parallel form godhood is from early 13c., now chiefly restricted to "state or condition of being a god."
- Godism (n.)
- contemptuous term for "belief in God," 1891, from God + -ism.
- Lady of Coventry (died 1067) and wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. Her legend is first recorded by Roger of Wendover 100 years after her death. The "Peeping Tom" aspect was added by 1659. The name is a typical Anglo-Saxon compound, apparently *God-gifu "good gift."
- godless (adj.)
- 1520s, from God + -less. Similar formation in Dutch goddeloos, German gottlos, Swedish gudlös, Gothic gudalaus. Related: Godlessness. Phrase godless communism attested by 1851; The Godless (Russian bezbozhnik) was the name of an organization for the suppression of religion in the Soviet Union.
- godlike (adj.)
- 1510s, from god + like (adj.). Absent in Middle English; Old English had godlic "godlike, divine."
- godliness (n.)
- 1530s, from godly + -ness.
- godly (adj.)
- late 14c., from god + -ly (1). Perhaps earlier, but due to identical spelling in Middle English it is difficult to distinguish from goodly. Related: Godlily.
- godmother (n.)
- woman who sponsors one at baptism, late 13c., from God + mother (n.1); modifying or replacing Old English godmodor.
- godparent (n.)
- also God-parent, 1865; see God + parent (n.).
- godsend (n.)
- "unlooked-for acquisition or good fortune," 1812, earlier "a shipwreck" (from the perspective of people living along the coast), by 1806, from Middle English Godes sonde (c. 1200) "God's messenger; what God sends, gift from God, happening caused by God," from God + Middle English sonde "that which is sent, message," from Old English sand, from sendan (see send (v.)).
The common people in Cornwall call, as impiously as inhumanely, a shipwreck on their shores, "a Godsend." [Rev. William Lisle Bowles, footnote in "The Works of Alexander Pope," London, 1806]
- godson (n.)
- "male child one sponsors at baptism," c. 1200, from God + son, replacing or modifying Old English godsunu.
- godspeed (interj.)
- also God speed, by late 14c., "(I wish that) God (may) grant you success," from God + speed (v.) in its old sense of "prosper, grow rich, succeed." Specifically as a salutation by mid-15c. Also in Middle English as an adverb, "quickly, speedily" (early 14c.); the then-identically spelled God and good seem to be mixed up in this word. From late 13c. as a surname. He may bidde god me spede is found in a text from c. 1300.
- Godward (adv.)
- also God-ward, "toward God," late 14c., from God + -ward.
- goer (n.)
- late 14c., "one who goes on foot, a walker," agent noun of go (v.). From mid-13c. as a surname. Of a horse, especially of one that goes fast (1690s); hence transferred use, of persons, "one who lives loosely" (c. 1810).
- third person singular of go, Old English gaæs (Northumbrian), displacing alternative goeth (Old English gaeþ) except in archaic and liturgical use. Who goes there? as a sentry's challenge is from 1590s. Expression anything goes "there are no rules or limits" is from 1921; earlier everything goes (1879). That goes without saying (1878) translates French cela va sans dire.