Menu Close

Goose Egg

A spotted goose egg laying in grass.

Goose Egg Definition

Goose egg.

  • A zero/nothing usually in reference to a game or sport.
  • A lump or swelling in the body after being struck.


A Goose egg resembles the shape of a zero. A swelling after taking a hard bump to the head or elsewhere can resemble an egg shape.

Goose Egg Examples

  • Gutter Gary said he’s been playing practice games all week but when it came to his turn to bowl all he managed was goose egg.
  • My son was chasing the dog around the house when I heard a loud thud and then crying. I ran over to see him holding his head and just in time to see the goose egg forming on his forehead.


For a woman who can handle herself so well in a fight, I can’t believe you got taken out by a defenseless doorjamb. (Ravyn)

Given the size of my goose egg, I would argue the defenseless part. That doorjamb has a mean left hook.(Susan)

Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dark Side of the Moon

Given a choice between goose egg and heartache, I would choose heartache.

Santosh Kalwar

Goose Egg Origin

Literary Origin (Lump)

Extract from a letter of the son of the venerable Ex-Governor of Kentucky, T. H. Shelby; Esq.: “I have a negro boy who was afflicted with the scrofula–the sight of one of his eyes, to all appearance, lost; he had a hard lump on his neck, the size of a goose egg; his general health entirely deranged. I consulted a good physician, and used his prescription for several months without any good effect. I was induced to try ‘Hampton’s Vegetable Tincture;’ after using two bottles his eye was restored to sight, the lump on his neck cured, and his general health now appears perfect.”

Daily Dispatch, May 27 1852

The first appearance in text of a goose egg being compared to a bodily lump is from a 1852 newspaper article. The article contains the passage above, a letter from the son of an ex-Governor of Kentucky. The letter describes the poor health of a young slave the man owns. Even after normal medicine fails the Kentuckian acquires some amazing vegetable concoction that miraculously cures the boy!

This ‘Hampton’s Vegetable Tincture’ is almost definitely snake oil. Vegetables are important for a well balanced, healthy diet. But I don’t think any combination of produce could produce such amazing feats of recovery..

Spiritual Origin (Score)

He is the secretary of the Montreal Club, and was the means of getting the Eleven out, so of course he could not be sent home with a duck’s egg. The first ball he got he hit up into Geo. Pare’s hands, but old Pare, who knows a thing or two, playfully tossed it from one hand to the other, and let it fall.

New York Times, 1859

The term goose egg used to reference a score of zero is an American adoption of the English term duck’s egg meaning the same thing. Although it seems duck’s egg originated in Europe. The earliest text found as a reference is from the New York Times, an American newspaper.