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Got my goat

Posted by R. Berg on April 06, 2001

In Reply to: Got my goat posted by christine on April 06, 2001

: I know when one says, "That's really got my goat, they mean that they're angry. What I'm wondering is how this phrase originated? Could it be an obscure gambling reference where the loser had to begrudginly give up his goat? Or is it a farm term? Any help? Mr. Berg, I'm counting on you!:)

That's Ms. Berg to you, Christopher, my boy.

The origin isn't clear. "Get my goat" MAY have come from horse racing, according to an inconclusive discussion at the Word Detective site (link below). Or it may have come from "goat" as old prison slang for anger, as the Word Detective says. The latter hypothesis makes more sense to me. Goats can act like angry people--you know, head-butting and all that. "Get your goat" would then mean "arouse your goatlike side" or "bring out the beast in you."