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May as well be hanged for a sheep as for a goat.

Posted by Lotg on September 26, 2003

In Reply to: May as well be hanged for a sheep as for a goat. posted by GPP on September 24, 2003

: : : : : Perhaps this is better known, or appears in the thesaurus, in some other form. I'm not sure what it means precisely. In olden times sheep were considered more valuable than goats. But I don't see how that matters.

: : : : I know it as 'a sheep for a lamb'. This makes more sense as sheep are more valuable than lambs. I can't say I recall ever hearing the 'goat' version here in the UK. I await correction!

: : : I see you managed a second posting on this one - and got the same answer as I just gave!

: : I managed a second posting because I wasn't sure my first had worked. I'm new and somewhat confused by how the system works.

: Smokey, I'm not sure why you're asking the same question again, unless you weren't satisfied with the Quinion answer you got on the first go-round, below. "Goat" is a misquotation, used by someone who got the phrase confused and put in "goat" instead of "lamb". It doesn't make any sense with "goat".

:::: The 'goat' version may not make sense, or even be right (looking at its origins obviously not), but it's the version I grew up with. So while it's obviously an aberration, I can see how Smokey came up with it. Having said that, I don't know where Smokey hails (did I spell that correctly?) from but when I was growing up, goats were considered entirely worthless in Australia, in fact a ferral pest (this has completely turned around now - as they are probably one of our most profitable herds). So perhaps the 'goat' thing evolved to exaggerate the difference in value against sheep. We Aussies do like to stretch a point (and no, I'm not stretching the point now!).