Why do we say "silly goose"?
Credit: Purestock Purestock Getty Images
Q:

Why do we say "silly goose"?

A:

Quick Answer

The expression “silly goose” refers to a person who acts in a childish, foolish but somewhat comical way. This term originates from several sources. The entry in the Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable states, “A foolish or ignorant person is called a goose because of the alleged stupidity of this bird." The Samuel Johnson dictionary describes geese as, “Large waterfowl proverbially noted, I know not why, for foolishness."

  Know More

Full Answer

The perception of geese as being particularly stupid and emblematic of foolishness has four possible sources. One source is their ungainly, waddling walk, which makes them look clumsy when on land, despite their grace in the water. The second source is that the goose was the emblem for a vain or silly man in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The third source is that the goose is often portrayed as being the unwise or gullible one in fairy tales and fables, such as “The Fox and the Goose”. The fourth source comes from the fact that male geese often overreact to perceived competition from other males. If their mates come too close to another male, the angry goose will stand in between them, comically waggling its wings and making hissing sounds to deter his rival.

Learn more about Folklore
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the moral of "The Fisherman and His Wife"?

    A:

    The moral of "The Fisherman and His Wife" is that a person must be thankful for what he has and not always want more, lest it become impossible for him ever to be satisfied. Those who do not appreciate the small things likely do not have the capacity to appreciate anything and are destined to live a life deprived of joy.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some popular urban legends?

    A:

    One popular urban legend is the legend of Bloody Mary, which is a myth claiming that a person looking in a mirror and yelling "Bloody Mary" three times summons a spirit named Mary. The Hookman is an urban legend that tells of a young couple killed by a hook-handed killer.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do you say to someone who is dying?

    A:

    When someone is dying, it is important to focus on the needs of the person who is dying and to actively listen. People who are dying often want to talk about the process of death itself, and may have fears about what death will be like or about how their passing will be handled. In addition to words, actions are key as well, and taking time to help ease daily burdens from those who are dying can make a meaningful difference in their remaining days.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What does "don't feed the trolls" mean?

    A:

    The expression "Don't feed the trolls" is a slang term that aims to keep people from communicating with a person who is deliberately trying to incite chaos and cause a disruption when using various online outlets, such as message boards and forums.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore