G.O.A.T. – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Is there someone who you think is at the top of their profession? Perhaps an athlete you know has totally dominated the sport for years and seems unbeatable? Do you know a day trader that seems to get everything right?

If so, then G.O.A.T. is probably a great term to use to refer to their standing.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The acronym G.O.A.T. stands for greatest of all time. The term usually refers to an athlete that has proven their prowess in their profession.

Unlike rising stars, one who has been awarded the title of G.O.A.T. has been able to remain at the top for several years, or during the entirety of their career. In most cases, a person who is labeled the G.O.A.T. will have also performed amazing feats, scored very high, or performed some form of act that is not easily replicable.

In modern times, the term G.O.A.T. is used for more than simply athletic figures. It is also used to describe actors, comedians, TV personalities, and even professionals within their various fields. The meaning of the acronym G.O.A.T. maintains that said person is the “greatest” or “best” in their field. In casual conversation, some have even assigned the label of G.O.A.T. to certain culinary dishes that have acquired a certain level of notoriety. More information can be found in the video (here).

Example Usage

“Dave Chappell has been lauded as the G.O.A.T. in most comedy circles”.

“In the world of Tennis, Serena Williams has earned her status as the G.O.A.T. through hard work and dedication”.

“Shakespeare is really the G.O.A.T. when it comes to tragic love stories and deeply poetic meanings”.

“In terms of pure gameplay, who do you think is the G.O.A.T. of the MLB?”

“I think that Michael Jackson is not only the King of Pop, he is also the G.O.A.T. in terms of dance styles”.

Origin of G.O.A.T.

The phrase, or acronym G.O.A.T. has been around for quite a while. However, it may surprise you to know that the term was created in 1990. The famed boxer, Muhammad Ali was respectfully known to the world as “The Greatest”. This name was chanted at most of his fights as well as used among his fans. His wife decided to use the moniker as a way to help publicize and gain her husband even more notoriety and fame. In 1990, she changed the moniker to G.O.A.T.  which means the greatest of all time.  At time went by, the term stuck and became quite popular among the urban youth, especially those in the African American community. At one point, LL Cool Jay even named one of his albums G.O.A.T. in 2000.

Phrases Similar to G.O.A.T.

  • The greatest
  • Top Performer
  • Top rated
  • The best
  • Superstar
  • Unmatched
  • Supreme
  • Best in Class

Phrases Opposite to G.O.A.T.

  • Loser
  • Worst of the decade
  • Undesirable
  • Mediocre
  • Last place

What is the Correct Saying?

  • O.A.T. – The greatest of all time.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say G.O.A.T.

There are not many ways to use G.O.A.T. improperly, but if someone doesn’t know what the phrase means, mistakes can be made. Some ways that g.o.a.t. is used incorrectly are:

  • John chews just like a G.O.A.T., I can’t stand it.
  • He is always losing, that’s why I think he is the G.O.A.T.
  • Nothing is better than overtaking the G.O.A.T. on the runway.
  • I hate how G.O.A.T. smells when it’s cooking, but it tastes delicious once it’s fully prepared.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase G.O.A.T.

  • Among all of the basketball players of the last 40 years, who do you consider the G.O.A.T.?
  • I think there are very few actors that are actually deserving of the title G.O.A.T.
  • It is absurd to assign the title G.O.A.T. to a simple chicken sandwich, after all, the measure is not quantifiable.
  • If you are looking for the G.O.A.T., just head over to the Hall of Fame, she is signing jerseys today.
  • An easy way to signal that you think someone is the G.O.A.T. is by putting a goat emoji in their comments.

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