Definition: Good

From New World Encyclopedia

Etymology 1

From Middle English good, from Old English gōd, from Proto-West Germanic *gōd, from Proto-Germanic *gōdaz, from Proto-Indo-European *gʰedʰ- (to unite, be associated, suit). Cognate with Russian го́дный or gódnyj (fit, well-suited, good for), год or god (year), via "suitable time." Related to gather and together, but not to God.


good (comparative better, superlative best)

  1. (of people)
    1. Acting in the interest of what is beneficial, ethical, or moral.
      good intentions
    2. Competent or talented.
      a good swimmer
    3. Able to be depended on for the discharge of obligations incurred; of unimpaired credit; used with for.
      Can you lend me fifty dollars? You know I'm good for it.
    4. Well-behaved (especially of children or animals).
      Be good while your mother and I are out.
      Were you a good boy for the babysitter?
    5. Satisfied or at ease; not requiring more.
      Would you like a glass of water? — No thanks, I'm good.
  2. (of capabilities)
    1. Useful for a particular purpose; functional.
      It’s a good watch.
      The flashlight batteries are still good.
    2. Effective.
      a good worker
  3. (properties and qualities)
    1. (of food)
      1. Having a particularly pleasant taste.
        The food was very good.
      2. Being satisfying; meeting dietary requirements.
        Eat a good dinner so you will be ready for the big game tomorrow.
    2. Of food or other perishable products, still fit for use; not yet expired, stale, rotten, etc.
      The bread is still good.
    3. Valid, of worth, capable of being honored.
      This coupon is good for a free donut.
    4. True, valid, of explanatory strength.
      This theory still holds good even if much higher temperatures are assumed.
    5. Healthful.
      Exercise and a varied diet are good for you
    6. Pleasant; enjoyable.
      We had a good time.
    7. Favorable.
      a good omen; good weather
    8. Unblemished; honorable.
      a person's good name
    9. Beneficial; worthwhile.
      a good job
    10. Adequate; sufficient; not fallacious.
  4. Holy (especially when capitalized).
    Good Friday, the Good Book
  5. (of quantities)
    1. Reasonable in amount.
      all in good time
    2. Large in amount or size.
      It will be a good while longer until he's done. 
      A good part of his day was spent shopping. 
    3. Full; entire; at least as much as.
      This hill will take a good hour and a half to climb.
      The town was a good ten miles away.

Usage notes

The comparative gooder and superlative goodest are nonstandard. In informal (often jocular) contexts, best may be inflected further and given the comparative bester and the superlative bestest; these forms are also nonstandard.

Derived terms

  • common good
  • Good Friday
  • goodness
  • Good Samaritan



  1. That is good; an elliptical exclamation of satisfaction or commendation.
    Good! I can leave now.

Etymology 2

From Middle English good, god, from Old English gōd (a good thing, advantage, benefit, gift; good, goodness, welfare; virtue, ability, doughtiness; goods, property, wealth), from Proto-Germanic *gōdą (goods, belongings), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰedʰ-, *gʰodʰ- (to unite, be associated, suit). Compare German Gut (item of merchandise; estate; property).


good (countable and uncountable, plural goods)

  1. (uncountable) The forces or behaviors that are the enemy of evil. Usually consists of helping others and general benevolence.
  2. (countable) A result that is positive in the view of the speaker.
  3. (uncountable) The abstract instantiation of goodness; that which possesses desirable qualities, promotes success, welfare, or happiness, is serviceable, fit, excellent, kind, benevolent, etc.
  4. (Usually plural) An item of merchandise.

Derived terms

  • baked good
  • capital goods
  • consumer goods


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