From Middle High German zige, from Old High German ziga, from Proto-Germanic *tigǭ, from Proto-Indo-European *dikéh₂, from *díks. Compare Albanian dhi (“she-goat”), Ishkashimi dec (“goatskin bag”), and further German Zicke, which is cognate with English tick (“goat”). Ziege was originally found in Franconian dialects alongside otherwise exclusive Geiß. In Middle High German times, it established itself in the colonial dialects (East Central German) and also conquered vast areas of Low German, where the borrowing Middle Low German sēge was predominant since at least the 15th century (due to a virtual lack of domestic goat breeding). During the same time, curiously, Ziege was widely lost in West Central German and Upper Franconian, its original provenance. Its eventual victory in the standard language was reinforced by its use in Luther’s Bible.
Ziege f (genitive Ziege, plural Ziegen)
- The singular refers principally to female goats, though it might also be used for male ones. The plural is entirely neutral with regard to natural gender.
- The female gender may be specified by means of the word Zicke, which is uncommon in literary German, however.
- Geiß f (regional)
- Ziege in Duden online