[adjective noh-goo d; noun noh-goo d]Informal.


lacking worth or merit; useless; bad: This no-good faucet never did work properly. Her no-good brother sold me the car.


a person or thing that is worthless or undependable.

Origin of no-good

An Americanism dating back to 1905–10



adjective, bet·ter, best.

morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.
satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.
of high quality; excellent.
right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentials are good.
well-behaved: a good child.
kind, beneficent, or friendly: to do a good deed.
honorable or worthy; in good standing: a good name.
educated and refined: She has a good background.
financially sound or safe: His credit is good.
genuine; not counterfeit: a good quarter.
sound or valid: good judgment; good reasons.
reliable; dependable; responsible: good advice.
healthful; beneficial: Fresh fruit is good for you.
in excellent condition; healthy: good teeth.
not spoiled or tainted; edible; palatable: The meat was still good after three months in the freezer.
favorable; propitious: good news.
cheerful; optimistic; amiable: in good spirits.
free of distress or pain; comfortable: to feel good after surgery.
agreeable; pleasant: Have a good time.
attractive; handsome: She has a good figure.
(of the complexion) smooth; free from blemish.
close or intimate; warm: She's a good friend of mine.
sufficient or ample: a good supply.
advantageous; satisfactory for the purpose: a good day for fishing.
competent or skillful; clever: a good manager; good at arithmetic.
skillfully or expertly done: a really good job; a good play.
conforming to rules of grammar, usage, etc.; correct: good English.
socially proper: good manners.
remaining available to one: Don't throw good money after bad.
comparatively new or of relatively fine quality: Don't play in the mud in your good clothes.
finest or most dressy: He wore his good suit to the office today.
full: a good day's journey away.
fairly large or great: a good amount.
free from precipitation or cloudiness: good weather.
Medicine/Medical. (of a patient's condition) having stable and normal vital signs, being conscious and comfortable, and having excellent appetite, mobility, etc.
fertile; rich: good soil.
loyal: a good Democrat.
(of a return or service in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) landing within the limits of a court or section of a court.
Informal. (used when declining an offer or suggestion, as to communicate that one is already satisfied): "More coffee?" "No thanks, I’m good!"
Horse Racing. (of the surface of a track) drying after a rain so as to be still slightly sticky: This horse runs best on a good track.
(of meat, especially beef) noting or pertaining to the specific grade below “choice,” containing more lean muscle and less edible fat than “prime” or “choice.”
favorably regarded (used as an epithet for a ship, town, etc.): the good ship Syrena.


profit or advantage; worth; benefit: What good will that do? We shall work for the common good.
excellence or merit; kindness: to do good.
moral righteousness; virtue: to be a power for good.
(especially in the grading of U.S. beef) an official grade below that of “choice.”
  1. possessions, especially movable effects or personal property.
  2. articles of trade; wares; merchandise: canned goods.
  3. Informal.what has been promised or is expected: to deliver the goods.
  4. Informal.the genuine article.
  5. Informal.evidence of guilt, as stolen articles: to catch someone with the goods.
  6. cloth or textile material: top-quality linen goods.
  7. Chiefly British.merchandise sent by land, rather than by water or air.
the good,
  1. the ideal of goodness or morality.
  2. good things or persons collectively.


(used as an expression of approval or satisfaction): Good! Now we can all go home.


Informal. well1(defs 1–3, 8): I wish I could cook this good! Yes, we knew him pretty good.

Origin of good

before 900; Middle English (adj., adv., and noun); Old English gōd (adj.); cognate with Dutch goed, German gut, Old Norse gōthr, Gothic goths
Related formsqua·si-good, adjective
Can be confusedgood well (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonyms for good

Synonym study

47. See property.

Usage note

Good is common as an adverb in informal speech, especially after forms of do: He did good on the test. She sees good with her new glasses. This use does not occur in formal speech or edited writing, where the adverb well is used instead: He did well on the test. She sees well with her new glasses.
The adjective good is standard after linking verbs like taste, smell, look, feel, be, and seem: Everything tastes good. The biscuits smell good. You're looking good today. When used after look or feel, good may refer to spirits as well as health: I'm feeling pretty good this morning, ready to take on the world. Well is both an adjective and an adverb. As an adjective used after look, feel, or other linking verbs, it often refers to good health: You're looking well; we missed you while you were in the hospital. See also bad. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for no good


adjective better or best

having admirable, pleasing, superior, or positive qualities; not negative, bad or mediocrea good idea; a good teacher
  1. morally excellent or admirable; virtuous; righteousa good man
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the)the good
suitable or efficient for a purposea good secretary; a good winter coat
beneficial or advantageousvegetables are good for you
not ruined or decayed; sound or wholethe meat is still good
kindly, generous, or approvingyou are good to him
right or acceptableyour qualifications are good for the job
rich and fertilegood land
valid or genuineI would not do this without good reason
honourable or held in high esteema good family
commercially or financially secure, sound, or safegood securities; a good investment
(of a draft) drawn for a stated sum
(of debts) expected to be fully paid
clever, competent, or talentedhe's good at science
obedient or well-behaveda good dog
reliable, safe, or recommendeda good make of clothes
affording material pleasure or indulgencethe good things in life; the good life
having a well-proportioned, beautiful, or generally fine appearancea good figure; a good complexion
complete; fullI took a good look round the house
propitious; opportunea good time to ask the manager for a rise
satisfying or gratifyinga good rest
comfortabledid you have a good night?
newest or of the best qualityto keep the good plates for important guests
fairly large, extensive, or longa good distance away
sufficient; amplewe have a good supply of food
US (of meat) of the third government grade, above standard and below choice
serious or intellectualgood music
used in a traditional descriptionthe good ship ``America''
used in polite or patronizing phrases or to express anger (often intended ironically)how is your good lady?; look here, my good man!
a good one
  1. an unbelievable assertion
  2. a very funny joke
as good as virtually; practicallyit's as good as finished
as good as gold excellent; very good indeed
be as good as to or be so good as to would you please
come good to recover and perform well after a bad start or setback
good and informal (intensifier)good and mad
(intensifier; used in mild oaths)good grief!; good heavens!


an exclamation of approval, agreement, pleasure, etc


moral or material advantage or use; benefit or profitfor the good of our workers; what is the good of worrying?
positive moral qualities; goodness; virtue; righteousness; piety
(sometimes capital) moral qualities seen as a single abstract entitywe must pursue the Good
a good thing
economics a commodity or service that satisfies a human need
for good or for good and all forever; permanentlyI have left them for good
make good
  1. to recompense or repair damage or injury
  2. to be successful
  3. to demonstrate or prove the truth of (a statement or accusation)
  4. to secure and retain (a position)
  5. to effect or fulfil (something intended or promised)
good on you or good for you well done, well said, etc: a term of congratulation
get any good of or get some good of Irish
  1. to handle to good effectI never got any good of this machine
  2. to understand properlyI could never get any good of him
  3. to receive cooperation from
See also goods
Derived Formsgoodish, adjective

Word Origin for good

Old English gōd; related to Old Norse gōthr, Old High German guot good
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 no good



Old English gōd "that which is good, goodness; advantage, benefit; gift; virtue; property;" from good (adj.).



Old English god (with a long "o") "virtuous; desirable; valid; considerable," probably originally "having the right or desirable quality," from Proto-Germanic *gothaz (cf. Old Norse goðr, Dutch goed, Old High German guot, German gut, Gothic goþs), originally "fit, adequate, belonging together," from PIE root *ghedh- "to unite, be associated, suitable" (cf. Old Church Slavonic godu "pleasing time," Russian godnyi "fit, suitable," Old English gædrian "to gather, to take up together"). As an expression of satisfaction, from early 15c.; of children, "well-behaved," by 1690s.

Irregular comparatives (better, best) reflect a widespread pattern, cf. Latin bonus, melior, optimus. Good-for-nothing is from 1711. Good looking is attested from 1780 (good looks by c.1800). Good sport, of persons, is from 1906; good to go is attested from 1989. The good book "the Bible" attested from 1801, originally in missionary literature describing the language of conversion efforts in American Indian tribes.

Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing. ["As You Like It"]



1908, from phrase no good "good for nothing." As a noun, first recorded 1924; variant no-goodnik (see -nik) first attested 1960.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with no good

no good

Unsatisfactory, inadequate; also, no use. For example, This work is no good; it'll have to be done over, or It's no good complaining since there's nothing we can do, or I tried to appeal to his sense of generosity, but it did no good. [Mid-1800s] Also see come to an end (to no good), def. 2; do any (no) good.


In addition to the idioms beginning with good

  • good and
  • good around
  • good as, as
  • good as done, as
  • good as gold, as
  • good as one's word, as
  • good day
  • good deal, a
  • good egg, a
  • good evening
  • good faith
  • good for
  • good graces
  • good grief
  • good head on one's shoulders, have a
  • good life, the
  • good luck
  • good many, a
  • good mind
  • good morning
  • good nature
  • goodness gracious
  • goodness knows
  • good night
  • good off
  • good riddance
  • good Samaritan
  • good scout
  • good sort
  • good thing
  • good time
  • good turn
  • good word
  • good works
  • goody two-shoes

also see:

  • bad (good) sort
  • but good
  • do any good
  • do good
  • do one good
  • for good
  • for good measure
  • get on someone's good side
  • get out while the getting is good
  • give a good account of oneself
  • give as good as one gets
  • have a good command of
  • have a good mind to
  • have a good thing going
  • have a good time
  • hold good
  • ill wind (that blows nobody any good)
  • in all good conscience
  • in bad (good) faith
  • in (good) condition
  • in due course (all in good time)
  • in good
  • in good hands
  • in good part
  • in good spirits
  • in good time
  • in good with
  • in someone's good graces
  • keep (good) time
  • make good
  • make good time
  • make someone look good
  • miss is as good as a mile
  • never had it so good
  • no good
  • no news is good news
  • not the only fish (other good fish) in the sea
  • one good turn deserves another
  • on good terms
  • on one's best (good) behavior
  • put in a good word
  • put to good use
  • show someone a good time
  • show to (good) advantage
  • so far so good
  • stand in good stead
  • take in good part
  • throw good money after bad
  • to good purpose
  • too good to be true
  • too much of a good thing
  • to the good
  • turn to (good account)
  • up to no good
  • well and good
  • what's the good of
  • with good grace
  • world of good
  • your guess is as good as mine

Also see undergoodnessgoods.

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