The honking of a family of geese wandering down to a nearby pond at 5:30 this morning was inspiring, what can I say? 😉

Goose, meaning the water fowl, is not surprisingly old–really old, as old as English. Interestingly, the word’s roots were not only for a goose, but for a swan, and is believed to be imitative on their honking.

From the 1540s onward, it’s carried a meaning of “simpleton” when applied to a person. Gooseflesh or goose skin (goosebumps) are from 1795 (for the skin variety) and 1810. From what I can gather, it comes from how a plucked fowl looks before you cook it. The more modern bumps variety didn’t come around until 1919.

As a verb, to be goosed meant, in 1818, to be jeered, particularly on stage. The, er, “poked in the rear” form of the verb, LOL, is from the 1880s, which is older than I expected!

Goose egg, meaning “zero,” is baseball slang from the 1860s, and to cook one’s goose is from 1845.

“Silly goose” is a favorite expression in our family–good to know where it comes from. 😉

Print Friendly, PDF & Email