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.
    2. Competent or talented.
    3. Able to be depended on for the discharge of obligations incurred; of unimpaired credit; used with for.
    4. Well-behaved (especially of children or animals).
    5. Satisfied or at ease; not requiring more.
  2. (of capabilities)
    1. Useful for a particular purpose; functional.
    2. Effective.
  3. (properties and qualities)
    1. (of food)
      1. Having a particularly pleasant taste.
      2. Being satisfying; meeting dietary requirements.
    2. Of food or other perishable products, still fit for use; not yet expired, stale, rotten, etc.
    3. Valid, of worth, capable of being honoured.
    4. True, valid, of explanatory strength.
    5. Healthful.
    6. Pleasant; enjoyable.
    7. Favourable.

a good omen;  good weather

    1. Unblemished; honourable.
    2. Beneficial; worthwhile.
    3. Adequate; sufficient; not fallacious.
  1. Holy (especially when capitalized) .
  2. (of quantities)
    1. Reasonable in amount.
    2. Large in amount or size.
    3. Full; entire; at least as much as.

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.

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. The forces or behaviours that are the enemy of evil. Usually consists of helping others and general benevolence.
  2. A result that is positive in the view of the speaker.
  3. 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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