What does the idiom "cook one's goose" mean?

The expression cook one's goose is one of the idioms that often finds a place in our literature and enriches our language. However, its meaning is not fully understood, so it is sometimes used in the wrong situations. Please review the explanation carefully for the correct use of the cook one's goose idiom.

Meaning of "cook one's goose"


The idiom "cook one's goose" is a common phrase used to describe destroying someone's plans or ambitions. It implies that a person's hopes or aspirations have been completely ruined. The phrase is often used to express the finality of a situation or a person's extreme disappointment.


The origin of the phrase "cook one's goose" is unclear; however, it is speculated to have come from an old French proverb. The proverb “cuire la grasse a quelqu'un” was used to express a similar sentiment as the English phrase. It likely referred to the French tradition of baking a goose on a Sunday to commemorate the Sabbath. This tradition may have been used to symbolize ruin or destruction in the proverb.


The idiom "to cook one's goose" is usually used figuratively to express the situation of someone's plans or ambitions being ruined or destroyed. It is typically used in informal conversations between friends or family and could also be used to express disappointment in the context of a game or competition. The phrase can also be used to refer to punishing someone for a wrong they have done or to express the sense of defeat one may feel after making a poor decision.

Example Sentences

  • With the deadline fast approaching, it looks like Jim cooked his goose and won't be able to finish the project on time.
  • When I heard they were going bankrupt, I knew someone had cooked their goose.
  • The teacher cooked the student's goose when he caught him cheating on the test.
  • The team was so confident, but then their opponents cooked their goose and won the game.

The meanings of the words in the "cook one's goose" idiom

Idioms with similar meaning

"Don't judge a book by its cover" is an English idiom that means you shouldn't make assumptions about someone or something based solely on its appearance. In Japanese, the similar idiom is "Hana yori dango," which translates to "Dumplings rather than flowers." This idiom means that substance is more important than appearance.


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