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[goo d-nis] /ˈgʊd nɪs/
the state or quality of being good.
moral excellence; virtue.
kindly feeling; kindness; generosity.
excellence of quality:
goodness of workmanship.
the best part of anything; essence; strength.
a euphemism for God:
Thank goodness!
(used in expressions of surprise, alarm, etc.):
Goodness, you gave me a start! Goodness gracious!
Origin of goodness
before 900; Middle English; Old English gōdnes. See good, -ness
Related forms
supergoodness, noun
2. integrity, honesty, uprightness, probity. Goodness, morality, virtue refer to qualities of character or conduct that entitle the possessor to approval and esteem. Goodness is the simple word for the general quality recognized in character or conduct: Many could tell of her goodness and kindness. Morality implies conformity to the recognized standards of right conduct: a citizen of the highest morality. Virtue is a rather formal word, and suggests usually goodness that is consciously or steadily maintained, often in spite of temptations or evil influences: of unassailable virtue; firm and of unwavering virtue. 3. benevolence, benignity, humanity. 4. worth, value.
1. badness, evil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for goodness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And for that act of goodness, Uncle Matthew had gone to his grave under stigma.

    The Foolish Lovers St. John G. Ervine
  • To laugh, were want of goodness and of grace, And to be grave, exceeds all power of face.

    Essay on Man Alexander Pope
  • “This is not the current view of goodness in women,” said Hadria.

  • I do him fresh wrong to question his forgiveness; for I know him to be all goodness.

  • Mick isn't Grant's widow, and you are of age, goodness knows.

    An Outback Marriage Andrew Barton Paterson
British Dictionary definitions for goodness


the state or quality of being good
generosity; kindness
moral excellence; piety; virtue
a euphemism for God goodness knows!, thank goodness!
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for goodness

Old English godnes "goodness, virtue, kindliness;" see good (adj.) + -ness. In exclamations from 1610s, first recorded being for goodnesse sake, i.e. "as you trust in the goodness of God."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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goodness in the Bible

in man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with goodness
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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