goodness gracious


Also, good gracious; gracious sakes. Exclamation of surprise, dismay, or alarm, as in Goodness gracious! You've forgotten your ticket. Both goodness and gracious originally alluded to the good (or grace) of God, but these colloquial expressions, which date from the 1700s, are not considered either vulgar or blasphemous.

Words Nearby goodness gracious

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

How to use goodness gracious in a sentence

  • I read that story and thought, 'goodness gracious, this is not anything I ever learned.'

    Is God Evil? | The Daily Beast | March 11, 2009 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Why, I expected to see a sort of great—goodness—gracious goddess, that kept him frightened to death of her.

  • And Uncle Wills pride, Sandys hair, that he made a picture of that sold for ever so much moneyoh, my goodness gracious!

    Winona of the Camp Fire | Margaret Widdemer
  • goodness gracious, I do believe this country'll be enough to turn one's head, almost, if it goes on like this much longer.'

  • goodness gracious—Used in a similar sense to the above, though in a milder degree.

    Burl | Morrison Heady