Where Did the Expression “Got His Goat” Come From and What Does the Saying Mean?

When someone “gets your goat,” it usually means you’ve lost your temper or become angry enough to be distracted.

It’s a term that came from a horse trainer’s practice of putting a goat in a stall with a skittish racehorse to keep him calm before a big race.

An opponent or gambler might arrange for the goat to be removed by a stable boy, which would upset the horse and its owner and then mess up their chances of winning.

We say someone’s “got his goat” when somebody is upset.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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