get one's goat (1906)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Oct 3 23:16:30 UTC 2014

"Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
> I presented my notion and reviewed a few examples here in 2005:

Intriguing analysis, Doug. Further below is a 1900 citation for a goat
viewed as a good luck charm for horses.

[Begin excerpt from Douglas G. Wilson's analysis]
Review of the handy on-line newspapers shows that the "goat" in "get
one's goat" was not strictly confined to this fixed expression, which
is probably favored by alliteration.

One's "goat" is apparently more or less one's composure or self-confidence.

My current speculation is that the original reference was to a
(metaphoric) mascot (in the old sense of good-luck charm, the opposite
of jinx or hoodoo). Many sports teams apparently had goat mascots. The
story about race-horses having goat companions is apparently true.
[End excerpt from Douglas G. Wilson's analysis]

Here is a citation with a goat kept by a stable hand.

Periodical: The Sketch
Date: August 29, 1900
Section: The World of Sport
Article: Racing Notes
Page 252

[Begin excerpt]
Stablelads are all fond of cats, and many of them like to have a goat
on the premises. I know of one trainer who lost his goat and could not
win a race of any sort until he got another one. He to this day,
believes that the death of the goat brought him a long run of bad
luck. Trainers and racing-men generally are highly charged with
[End excerpt]


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