The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs — Meaning & Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The idiom golden goose or goose that lays the golden eggs is used to describe a valuable source of income or wealth. I know, weird. Right? If you’re wondering how a bird laying golden eggs came to signify wealth, I’ve got a story for you!

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs: The Meaning Explained

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs — Meaning Origin

The idiom golden goose or the goose that laid the golden egg simply means a valuable resource that provides a consistent stream of income or some kind of wealth. It can be anything from a lucrative job, a successful business, or an investment that keeps giving returns.

Golden Goose Ngram
Golden goose usage trend.

It actually has nothing to do with the terrifying bird. (Yes, they scare me. I was chased by a goose when I was five, and I’ll never forget it!)

Origin and Etymology of the Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

Like a lot of our idioms, the phrase originates from one of Aesop’s Fables— “The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs.” In the story, a couple owns a magical goose that lays a shiny egg made of real gold every day. Greed overtakes them, and they kill the goose hoping to get all the golden eggs at once.

Spoiler alert: That wasn’t a winning strategy. So, the moral of the story is not to destroy a reliable source of income in hopes of getting even more.

Golden Goose Synonyms

I know the phrase can feel a little cheesy, so try any one of these terms in place of it.

  • Cash cow
  • Money spinner
  • Profit center
  • Gold mine
  • Money tree
  • Bonus word: Mom (if you ask my kids)

Golden Goose Examples in a Sentence

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs — Meaning Origin 1

  • His tech startup became the golden goose, consistently bringing in massive profits every quarter.
  • After a ton of failed attempts, she finally found the goose that laid the golden eggs in her successful cooking blog.
  • The company’s new product line is expected to be the golden goose.
  • Investing in real estate turned out to be a goose laying golden eggs for him.
  • Despite the risky venture, the new photography business proved to be their golden goose.
  • Their new app is like a goose laying golden eggs, bringing in steady revenue every single month.
  • We need to protect our golden goose of Newfoundland—the tourism industry.
  • His skills in web development are like golden eggs, landing him high-paying contracts every week.
  • Don’t shoot the goose laying the golden eggs by spending all your savings at once.
  • With this new patent, we could have a golden goose on our hands.

Egg-citing Idiomatic Stories

And that’s another idiom unscrambled. The golden goose isn’t about gilded poultry; it’s all about finding a reliable source of wealth. Just don’t forget the moral of the original story, though: greed can destroy the very thing that gives you wealth. Now, get cracking and read my other helpful guides to idioms!