[ good-nis ]
/ ˈgʊd nɪs /



(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


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.

Related forms

su·per·good·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for goodness

British Dictionary definitions for goodness


/ (ˈɡʊdnɪs) /


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

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.