I read the below text and can "sheep" really be used for verb?

Thank you for the great answer, and of course the obsessive compulsive drones who work for free to keep the owners of Stack Exchange paid good money will comment about any answer that doesn't fall in with protocol. It's really a sad system. People without a life working for more "privileges" just a way for the owner to get more money. Top business model, that's for sure. But does SE really give a flying two cents about either the asker or answerers? Does SE really make the Internet a better place? Not when moderators and other unpaid drones are more worried about the SE protocol rather than normal human relations. SE is driven by advertisement, so all this crap about building a great site is just a distraction from its real purpose... putting money into the pockets of a few, on the sweat and labour of people sheeped into its privileges system

  • "Sheep" is a common derogatory way to refer to people who are blind followers
    – Alex K
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 16:10
  • It sounds like a witty coinage, in outward form analogous to "cowed".
    – TimR
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 17:01
  • I want to know if I can use it without a preposition. I understand "to sheep into", kind of analogous to "to pig out", "to chicken out", "to duck under", "to horse around", and even "to cow away from", which are only tangentially related to pigs, chickens and ducks; and not at all related to horses or cows. But each of these sounds odd without its preposition. May I say "I look forward to sheeping you soon"? Commented Dec 6, 2015 at 9:51

2 Answers 2


No, to sheep is not a standard verb (which you will find in the dictionary)

However, from the context is it clear what is meant - those people are easily influenced by the system (or the SE owners) and lured into it.

However, for comic effect, the rules of grammar are often bent.

  • 3
    Well, obviously it is. It has verbal morphology and functions as predicator, so we can see that it's been converted from a noun to a verb. But you could perhaps say that this derivation is non-standard.
    – user230
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 16:10
  • 1
    As Bill Watterson's character Calvin said, "Verbing weirds language."
    – Jasper
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 16:20
  • 4
    I love English language for its ability to verb everything.
    – Kreiri
    Commented Jul 9, 2015 at 16:27
  • 1
    old saying: "There isn't any word in English that can't be verbed." Commented Nov 10, 2015 at 17:35
  • +1 for “However, for comic effect, the rules of grammar are often bent"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 26 at 17:36

As pointed out at the general English stack, the answer above is incorrect.

Yes, 'to sheep' is a(n uncommon) verb. Per the OED:


1. transitive. To weed or to dung (land) by pasturing sheep upon it.

2. To eat off with sheep.

More generally, yes, you can verb most nouns in English. Some senses are more common than others when doing that: to use ~ (I phoned him, I bedded her, I keyed it in, &c.), to do/act in the manner of ~ (I phoned it in, I monkeyed around, I hammed it up, &c.), to provide with ~ (I watered the plants, I buttered the bread, I shoed the horse, &c.), &c.

Here the intended sense is treated like sheep (i.e. "herded") or acting like sheep (i.e. "thoughtlessly following others").

It's uncommon but perfectly fine, except for the minor ambiguity.

  • 1
    "Sheep" here does not have either of the OED meanings; it appears to mean "driven or herded like sheep", and has no sense of eating or weeding.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Feb 26 at 17:10
  • "Sheep" quoted in the OP appears to be a play on words, sheeple (people unable to think critically for themselves) and being shipped; delivered/sent to the system a type of "obedience school" formulated by SE staff/company. This is a neologism, clever, intuitive, but not the meaning found in the OED
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 26 at 17:40
  • @Mari-LouA Huh. So just like I already said in the 4th paragraph, then? Peachy.
    – lly
    Commented Feb 26 at 23:33
  • That meaning is not listed in the OED though.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Feb 26 at 23:36
  • @Mari-LouA and no one said it was.
    – lly
    Commented Feb 27 at 0:05

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