for goodness' sake

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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Alternative forms[edit]


A euphemistic replacement of "God" in for God's sake.

Prepositional phrase[edit]

for goodness' sake

  1. (idiomatic, euphemistic) Used to express frustration, exasperation, annoyance.
    For goodness' sake, get off the computer! You've been on there for ages!
    • 2015 April 28, Tracey Spicer, “Taming tiny terrors: How to have a happy family holiday”, in The Press:
      You're 47, for goodness' sake. Too old for this!
    • 2017 May 1, Dana Johannsen, “What happens when you watch six hours of ANZ Premiership netball?”, in New Zealand Herald:
      She's 1.98m for goodness sake! How can you not find her!?
  2. (idiomatic, euphemistic) Used to express surprise or amazement.
    For goodness' sake, I spelled that word correctly. I never knew I could do that.
    • 1921, Printers' Ink Monthly - Volumes 3-4, page 42:
      No salesman is ever a bore if he can make us throw up our hands and say, "Well, for goodness' sake! What do you know about that ?" Yes, surprise is the thing.
    • 2008, Walter Isaacson, Einstein: His Life and Universe, →ISBN:
      For goodness' sake,” Einstein exclaimed. “So that was the famous caviar!" He paused for a moment, then added, "Well, if you offer gourmet food to peasants like me, you know they won't appreciate it."
    • 2014, Louise Millar, The Hidden Girl: A Novel, →ISBN, page 179:
      For goodness' sake, we go to Spain for a week and get new next-door neighbors! How lovely!
    • 2016 November 24, Te Ahua Maitland, “Woman celebrating 100th birthday receives 50 double-ups on cards”, in The Southland Times:
      I thought, for goodness' sake, fancy them being the same!
  3. (idiomatic, euphemistic) Used for emphasis
    • 1888, Harrison and Morton, The Tippecanoe Campaign Songster:
      They'll try all they can to deceive and to cheat, But for goodness sake don't say I told you.
    • 2012 -, Hazel Holt, No Cure for Death, →ISBN:
      Well, for goodness sake let me know if I can do anything.
    • 2013 August 26, Bryony Gordon, “'I am not normally a stickler for tradition – I had a baby out of wedlock, for goodness sake'”, in The Telegraph:
      I am not normally a stickler for tradition – I had a baby out of wedlock, for goodness sake – but for some reason I want Harry to be my husband.
    • 2017 May 9, “Time for former champions to start again”, in Taranaki Daily News:
      But for goodness sake, please review the plan and come up with detail that distinguishes each groups cultural identity and is something that the players can own.
    • 2017 May 14, Susan Estrich, “Mothers and memories”, in The Exponent Telegram:
      These young women are busy, for goodness' sake, tired and overworked, stressed, trying to find time for themselves in days that have too little.