also goose-bumps, "peculiar tingling of the skin produced by cold, fear, etc.; the sensation described as 'cold water down the back'" [Farmer], 1859, from goose (n.) + bump (n.). So called because the rough condition of the skin during the sensation resembles the skin of a plucked goose. Earlier in the same sense was goose-flesh (1803) and goose-skin (1761; as goose's skin 1744), and earlier still hen-flesh (early 15c.), translating Latin caro gallinacia.
updated on June 28, 2015
Dictionary entries near goosebumps