goose / goōs/ • n. (pl. geese / gēs/ ) 1. a large waterbird (esp. the genera Anser and Branta), with a long neck, short legs, webbed feet, and a short broad bill. Generally geese are larger than ducks and have longer necks and shorter bills. ∎ the female of such a bird. ∎ the flesh of a goose as food. 2. inf. a foolish person. • v. [tr.] inf. 1. poke (someone) between the buttocks. 2. give (something) a boost; invigorate; increase: goosing up ticket sales. PHRASES: cook someone's goosesee cook. ORIGIN: Old English gōs, of Germanic origin.
A goose is the emblem of St Werburga, a Mercian princess and nun (d. c.700), who in her legend is said to have brought a goose back to life, St Bridget of Ireland, and St Martin of Tours.
goose-girl a girl employed to tend geese, in fairy stories the type of the peasant girl who marries a prince.
goose-step a military marching step in which the legs are not bent at the knee, especially associated with German militarism.
See also geese, golden goose, kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, Mother Gooseat mother, what's sauce for the goose, wild goose chase.
The barburim avusim (av, jps "fatted fowl") included among the daily provision for Solomon's table (i Kings 5:3) have been identified with the goose, the word barbur being explained as derived from bar ("pure," "white"), and avus ("fattened"). Some, however, identify barburim ("swans" in modern Heb.) with hens (bm 86b) or with a variety of fowl that came from Barbaria, that is North Africa (Eccl. R. 2:7). The breeding of geese in Ereẓ Israel is extremely old, a picture of them being fattened having been preserved on a ninth-century b.c.e. ivory tablet found in excavations at Megiddo. In ancient Egypt geese were extensively bred and fattened. The Mishnah mentions goose breeding (Shab. 24:3; Ḥul. 12: 1), and a distinction was made between the wild and the domesticated goose (tj, bk 5: 10, 5a: tb, bk 55a). According to folklore, "if a man sees a goose in a dream, he may hope for wisdom" (Ber. 57a).
F.S. Bodenheimer, Animal and Man in Bible Lands (1960), index, s.v.Anser; J. Feliks, Kilei Zeta'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 133–4.