Goose egg

Goose egg is an idiom that has been in use for over one hundred years. An idiom is a word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, chin up, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom goose egg, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Goose egg as an idiom has two different definitions. Goose egg may mean zero or nothing, especially when referring to a sports score, or it may mean zero or nothing in other circumstances. This use of the idiom compares the shape of a goose egg to a zero. The second definition of goose egg is a lump that arises from a blow, especially on the head; such lumps are often shaped like eggs. The idiom goose egg came into use in the United States in the 1880s and is an Americanization of the British version, duck egg, in use since the mid-1800s. The plural form is goose eggs.


Entering Thursday at Ohio State, the Gophers men’s basketball team had a goose egg in the column on its résumé under true road wins, but Marcus Carr’s three-pointer with 3.3 seconds left gave his team its first road victory this season in a 62-59 win in front of a stunned announced crowd of 13,234 at Value City Arena. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The No. 7 University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team (4-2-0) responded well Saturday after laying a goose egg on Friday against No. 11 Clarkson University (3-2-1). (The Badger Herald)

The man had a large goose egg and laceration above his left eye which was bleeding heavily. (The Lockport Union-Sun & Journal)

A bar employee said he had “just a goose egg” and he refused medical treatment. (The Daily Inter Lake)

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