Get someone’s goat

Photo of author


The idiom get someone’s goat has been traced back to the turn of the twentieth century. An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the definition of the expression get someone’s goat, where it may have come from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To get someone’s goat means to annoy someone, to irritate someone or make them angry. Related phrases are gets someone’s goat, got someone’s goat, getting someone’s goat. There are many origin stories for the idiom to get someone’s goat, but the exact source is unknown. It is known that at one time the word goat was prison slang for anger or to make someone exasperated, and so the term get someone’s goat may be related to this. The earliest known uses of the phrase get someone’s goat occur in America, and are related to boxing.


Our advice to the union: Don’t let the greens get your goat; find allies instead. (The New York Post)

The pugnacious Englishman says that a week of Glasgow players talking about how rubbish the Warriors were at Murrayfield, rather than how effectively 14-man Edinburgh performed, has got his goat. (The Telegraph)

Mills, who had earlier questioned if the Saudi coach had even left his seat for the moment’s silence, then trained his sights on one player who particularly got his goat. (The West Australian)

The show is built on Stew being surrounded by oddballs and weirdos who frustrate him, but even some of his compatriots, like Deb, are getting his goat now, and he can’t even trust his therapist or his children, who see no issue with a therapist dating her client. (Paste Magazine)

Enjoyed reading about this idiom? Check out some others we covered:

Help Us Improve!

Help Us Improve!

- Did we make a mistake?
- Do you have feedback or suggestions on how we can improve?

press Enter

Use Shift+Tab to go back