what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

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1670s, figuratively using goose/gander for women and men, and literally meaning that the same sauce applies equally well to cooked goose, regardless of gender. Early forms include “as deep drinketh the goose as the gander” (1562)[1][2] and similar “As well for the coowe calfe as for the bull” (1549).[3][4]


what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander

  1. If something is acceptable for one person, it is acceptable for another, of the opposite gender.
    • 1674, Richard Head, The English Rogue, Part 3, page p. 4:
      … sawce which is good for the Goose, I hope will be good for the Gander …
    • 1678, John Ray, Collection of English proverbs, second edition, Cambridge, page 148:
      That that’s good sauce for a goose, is good for a gander.
    • 1682, Thomas Otway, Venice Preserv'd, page 53:
      … what is Sawce for a Goose is Sawce for a Gander …

Derived terms[edit]




  1. ^ John Heywood, The Proverbs, Epigrams, and Miscellanies of John Heywood, 1562, "as+deep+drinketh+the+goose+as+the+gander" p. 82
  2. ^ John Lyly, Euphues and his England, 1579/1580, “as deepe drinketh the Goose as the Gander”, note on p. 377
  3. ^ 1549, John Heywood, A Dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of All the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue
  4. ^ "Wise Words and Wives' Tales: The Origins, Meanings and Time-Honored Wisdom of Proverbs and Folk Sayings Olde and New" by Stuart Flexner and Doris Flexner (Avon Books, New York, 1993).
  5. ^ 1856, Charles Cahier, Quelque six mille proverbis et aphorismes usuels empruntés à notre âge et aux siècles derniers, p. 380: gives French form as borrowing from English