+3 votes
in Miscellaneous ♑ by

3 Answers

+5 votes

Hi Katherine,

I am not totally sure the intention was to designate one animal as less desirable than the other, at least in this chapter of Matthew? It could have been more the imagery of mixed flocks of sheep and goats that were common then, but say when the time came to shear them, or to milk them, then a good shepherd would know how to do that instantly...

Although, in certain places in the Old Testament, goats were used as symbols of good things; the delicious meat, or maybe the way a goat could climb the highest mountains and then see very far...however, there are also references in the Old Testament to the mythologic satyrs, part man/part goat, and considered evil...thus lewdness and lust...

So maybe the reference is actually kinda neutral, with just a touch of the heretical "false" religions?

* * *

idk, here are a couple references, see what you think!




Well you learn something knew everyday, I didn't even know satyrs were in the bible, thank you for the links and information. 

+4 votes

I think it's because sheep are/were considered more docile and meek than goats.

Still there are bad connotations for both, e.g., 'sheeple', 'old goat', and in German, 'Schafskopf' (sheepshead; stupid guy), 'Bock' (he-goat; stubborn, ill-tempered guy).


Interesting, thank you


YW. :)


Correct, goats are less docile and more independent, although sheep are not less intelligent (they memorise faces very well), they are more likely to follow a guide, i.e. the so-called "bellwether".


On the other hand, wild goats like Capra ibex and their relatives (Capra nubiana) live in very hostile environments, and they need to be more independent and bold to survive:

By the way, the American mountain goat, though a relative, is not a real goat, i.e. not a member of the genus Capra:




Just for another giggle!

There are also some uneasy names to live with, especially for bosses:


Bouc (above with the nobiliary particle), FR

billy goat, he-goat, Engl.

Ziegenbock, Geissbock (referring to buck), DE


Lol, certainly a mouthful


@ Marianne,

There was a prominent WW2 field marshal named von Bock, but I don't think anyone made fun of his name. Not to his face, anyway.  :ermm:


As far as I know, he was an aristocrat who was fanatic about "Prussian militarism".


But the German "Bock" (buck) refers to various animal species and other things, like beer, racks, supports, etc.

The funnier sides are:


or (with a tragic ending), Busch's naughty boys:


Virginia might be interested too.






Lol - "mouthful" has different meanings, and (besides a bite or a rich and meaningful information and/or tongue twisters) there's a yummy version, i.e. a "mouthful" recipe (according to or) for "a queen", internationally known as "vol-au-vent":

recipe: http://mimithorisson.com/2012/05/08/bouchee-a-la-reine/

info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vol-au-vent

If you like it: enjoy a yummy moment with friends - with your preferred ingredients!



@ Marianne,

Sure, "Bock" can mean all those things, but I never saw a bottle of Bockbier that had a picture of any animal besides a goat.  :D


And yes, "buck" and "Bock" are cognate, but I don't think they mean exactly the same if you simply say the word in either language with no context. In English, if you say "buck" and nothing else, I think most people would think of a male deer. In German, if you just say "Bock", I think most people would think of a male goat.


Lol - T(h)ink - thank you for the giggle - you made my day! :D:D:D

Yes, if you refer to the phrase "einen Bock schiessen", they refer to a he-goat.


But like "buck", "Bock" refers to various male animals and, especially, to deer species, besides a particular beer and all the other definitions.


in German, with the legend:


However - you would be correct if using the French version "bouc" (with more or less similar roots); it refers mainly to the he-goat and the beard resembling that of a goat's "beard", i.e. goatee:





@ Marianne,

"Einen Bock schiessen" is an interesting expression for a blunder. Does it mean the hunter thought he was shooting a deer, but shot a wild goat instead, or even worse, shot a farm goat?  :O

Edit: Oh, wait... I just read your first reference. :D



Yes, correct.

Except that there were no wild goats left (and, due to overhunting, C. ibex had disappeared from many Alpine regions or had become very rare). As to feral goats, you will hardly find any in Germany or Austria:


They were clearly referring to domestic goats.