goad

A goad is a pointy stick or other instrument used to prod something along. To goad is to poke something with that pointy stick. Either way, the pointiness is really essential for making things leap into action.

Originally spelled gad, meaning “spearhead,” goad first came into use as a verb in the 1570s. But say you left your pointy goading stick at home. Have no fear! You can goad people with words, too. Literally or figuratively, a goad prods and pokes and provokes people into doing something. A sheep herder might hustle his flock along with a goad, just as your mom's constant nagging and goading might finally get you sit up straight at the dinner table.

Definitions of goad
  1. verb
    stab or urge on as if with a pointed stick
    synonyms: prick
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    type of:
    jab, stab
    stab or pierce
  2. verb
    urge with or as if with a goad
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    types:
    spur
    goad with spurs
    type of:
    egg on, incite, prod
    urge on; cause to act
  3. verb
    goad or provoke, as by constant criticism
    synonyms: needle
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    type of:
    beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harass, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
    annoy continually or chronically
  4. verb
    give heart or courage to
    synonyms: spur
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    type of:
    encourage
    inspire with confidence; give hope or courage to
  5. noun
    a pointed instrument that is used to prod into a state of motion
    synonyms: prod
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    types:
    ankus
    an elephant goad with a sharp spike and a hook
    gad, spur
    a sharp prod fixed to a rider's heel and used to urge a horse onward
    type of:
    device
    an instrumentality invented for a particular purpose
  6. noun
    a verbalization that encourages you to attempt something
    synonyms: goading, prod, prodding, spur, spurring, urging
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    type of:
    encouragement
    the expression of approval and support
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