[ good-nis ]
See synonyms for goodness on
  1. the state or quality of being good.

  2. moral excellence; virtue.

  1. kindly feeling; kindness; generosity.

  2. excellence of quality: goodness of workmanship.

  3. the best part of anything; essential property; strength.

  4. a euphemism for God: Thank goodness!

  1. Also my goodness or goodness gracious . (used in expressions of surprise, alarm, etc.): Goodness, you gave me a start!Goodness gracious, this article is so badly written!

Origin of goodness

First recorded before 900; Middle English; Old English gōdnes; see good, -ness

synonym study For goodness

2. 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.

Other words for goodness

Opposites for goodness

Other words from goodness

  • su·per·good·ness, noun

Words Nearby goodness Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use goodness in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for goodness


/ (ˈɡʊdnɪs) /

  1. the state or quality of being good

  2. generosity; kindness

  1. moral excellence; piety; virtue

  1. 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

Other Idioms and Phrases with goodness


In addition to the idioms beginning with goodness

  • goodness gracious
  • goodness knows

also see:

  • for the sake of

, def. 3; god (goodness) knowshonest to god (goodness)my god (goodness.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.