get one's goat (1906)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 3 20:53:55 UTC 2014

On Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 1:03 PM, Stephen Goranson wrote:
> 1905, Oct. 28, possibly relevant:
> "If that don't get my goat!..." [The scan is not great: the ! and the context is not especially clear.]
> Colliers p. 30

An interesting find, though I agree it's hard to know what to make of
it based on the context. It doesn't appear to mean "anger, annoy,"
given the speaker's convivial tone. But as Patricia T. O'Conner and
Stewart Kellerman note on their Grammarphobia blog, the meaning of the
idiom was somewhat in flux in the early days -- they cite a 1908
example where it seems to mean "to move (emotionally)":


Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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