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From Middle English goos, gos, from Old English gōs, from Proto-Germanic *gans, from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰh₂éns (compare West Frisian goes, North Frisian göis (also Fering-Öömrang dialect North Frisian gus; Sölring dialect North Frisian Guus; Heligoland dialect North Frisian gus), Low German Goos, Low German Gans, Dutch gans, German Gans, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian gås, Icelandic gæs, Irish , Latin ānser, Latvian zùoss, Russian гусь (gusʹ), Albanian gatë, Ancient Greek χήν (khḗn), Avestan 𐬰𐬁(), Sanskrit हंस (haṃsá)).

The tailor's iron is so called from the likeness of the handle to the neck of a goose.


  • enPR: gōōs, IPA(key): /ˈɡuːs/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːs
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a flying goose

goose (countable and uncountable, plural geese)

  1. Any of various grazing waterfowl of the family Anatidae, which have feathers and webbed feet and are capable of flying, swimming, and walking on land, and which are bigger than ducks.
    There is a flock of geese on the pond.
  2. The flesh of the goose used as food.
    • 1843, Charles Dickens, “Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits”, in A Christmas Carol:
      Mrs. Cratchit made the gravy (ready beforehand in a little saucepan) hissing hot; Master Peter mashed the potatoes with incredible vigour; Miss Belinda sweetened up the apple-sauce; Martha dusted the hot plates; Bob took Tiny Tim beside him in a tiny corner at the table; the two young Cratchits set chairs for everybody, not forgetting themselves, and mounting guard upon their posts, crammed spoons into their mouths, lest they should shriek for goose before their turn came to be helped.
  3. (slang) A silly person.
    • 1906, Langdon Mitchell, “The New York Idea”, in John Gassner, editor, Best Plays of the Early American Theatre, 1787-1911[1], published 2000, →ISBN, page 430:
      I'm sorry for you, but you're such a goose.
  4. (archaic) A tailor's iron, heated in live coals or embers, used to press fabrics.
  5. (South Africa, slang, dated) A young woman or girlfriend.
  6. (uncountable, historical) An old English board game in which players moved counters along a board, earning a double move when they reached the picture of a goose.

Usage notesEdit

  • A male goose is called a gander. A young goose is a gosling.
  • A group of geese can be called a gaggle when they are on the ground or in the water, and a skein or a wedge when they are in flight.


Derived termsEdit


See alsoEdit


goose (third-person singular simple present gooses, present participle goosing, simple past and past participle goosed)

  1. (slang) To sharply poke or pinch someone's buttocks. Derived from a goose's inclination to bite at a retreating intruder's hindquarters.
  2. To stimulate, to spur.
  3. (slang) To gently accelerate an automobile or machine, or give repeated small taps on the accelerator.
  4. (British slang) Of private-hire taxi drivers, to pick up a passenger who has not pre-booked a cab. This is unauthorised under UK licensing conditions.
  5. (transitive, slang) To hiss (a performer) off the stage.