get someone's goat
Origin uncertain; it has been suggested that the term may be derived from French prendre la chèvre (literally “to take the goat”), or refer to the stealing of a goat mascot from a military unit, etc.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˌɡɛt ˈsʌmwʌnz ˈɡəʊt/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˌɡɛt ˈsʌmwʌnz ˈɡoʊt/
- Hyphenation: get some‧one's goat
get someone's goat (third-person singular simple present gets someone's goat, present participle getting someone's goat, simple past got someone's goat, past participle got someone's goat or (North American and regional Britain) gotten someone's goat)
- (informal) To annoy or infuriate someone.
- Synonyms: get someone's nanny, get someone's nanny-goat, give someone the shits (Australia, colloquial, vulgar); see also Thesaurus:annoy, Thesaurus:enrage
- It really gets my goat when inconsiderate people drop litter in public.
- 1924 October, John Galsworthy, “The Mark Falls”, in The White Monkey, London: William Heinemann Ltd., published November 1924, OCLC 25115838, part II, page 123:
- "Unfortunately," said Soames, "there's no such thing as luck in properly regulated assurance, as we shall find, or I'm much mistaken. I shouldn't be surprised if an action lay against the Board for gross negligence!" That had got the Chairman's goat!—Got his goat? What expressions they used nowadays!
- 1941 May, “Milestone”, in T. Orchard Lisle, editor, The Log, volume 36, number 8, San Francisco, Calif.: Miller Freeman Publishers, OCLC 654678803, page 34:
- But there's one litte thing that gets my goat, / That certainly strikes a sour note. / It's that Southern Ship who has my place— / With her larger decks and her faster pace.
- 1962 February 1, Ken Kesey, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Signet Books; 225location=New York, N.Y.), New American Library, OCLC 919653166; republished New York, N.Y.: Signet, New American Library, February 1963, OCLC 970608140, page 95:
- It sure did get their goat; they turned without saying a word and walked off toward the highway, red-necked, us laughing behind them. I forget sometimes what laughter can do.
- 2002, Barry Winbolt, “Looking for New Ideas”, in Difficult People: A Guide to Handling Difficult Behaviour, Seaford, East Sussex: ISR Publishing, Institute for Social Relations, published 2005, →ISBN, section 2, pages 191–192:
- Sometimes people are quite simply intent on riling us; on getting our goat. [...] If you don't want them to get your goat, don't let them know where it is.