Definition: Goodness

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From Middle English goodnesse, godnesse, from Old English gōdnes (goodness, virtue, kindness), from Proto-West Germanic *gōdnassī (goodness), equivalent to good + -ness. Cognate with Scots guidness (goodness), West Frisian goedens (goodness), Old High German guotnessī (goodness), Middle High German guotnisse (goodness), Russian годность or godnostʹ (suitability, fitness).


goodness (countable and uncountable, plural goodnesses)

  1. (uncountable) The state or characteristic of being good; the state of possessing positive qualities; moral, ethical, competent, useful, etc.. Can apply to people or objects.
  2. (countable) The good, nutritional, healthy part or content of something.
  3. (Christianity) The moral qualities which constitute Christian excellence; moral virtue.

Derived terms

  • goodness gracious
  • honest to goodness
  • my goodness
  • out of the goodness of one's heart
  • thank goodness


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