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  1. the state or quality of being good.
  2. moral excellence; virtue.
  3. kindly feeling; kindness; generosity.
  4. excellence of quality: goodness of workmanship.
  5. the best part of anything; essence; strength.
  6. a euphemism for God: Thank goodness!
  1. (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 formssu·per·good·ness, noun

Synonyms for goodness

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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.

Antonyms for goodness Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for goodness

Contemporary Examples of goodness

Historical Examples of goodness

  • I am bound for my quarters, I came but to thank you for your goodness to me, and to bid you farewell.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • He only desires that you will have the goodness to let him alone.

  • "I wish to goodness I could marry them both," said Viviette.


    William J. Locke

  • It is natural to goodness and innocence, but not the less is the error a disastrous one.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • But when he speaks "truth" of Caesar he has to admit Caesar's goodness.

British Dictionary definitions for goodness


  1. the state or quality of being good
  2. generosity; kindness
  3. 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

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

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.