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From Middle English goodnesse, godnesse, from Old English gōdnes (goodness; virtue; kindness), equivalent to good +‎ -ness. Cognate with Old High German gōtnassī, cōtnassī (goodness), Middle High German guotnisse (goodness), Russian годность (godnostʹ, suitability, fitness).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɡʊdnəs/, /ˈɡʊdnɪs/
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goodness (countable and uncountable, plural goodnesses)

  1. (uncountable) The state or characteristic of being good.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act IV, scene i], page 83, column 2:
      There is ſome ſoule of goodneſſe in things euill, / VVould men obſeruingly 'diſtill it out.
    • 2014 October 7, Amanda Bevill; Julie Kramis Hearne, World Spice at Home: New Flavors for 75 Favorite Dishes[1], Sasquatch Books, →ISBN, page 42:
      Rich, raisiny, smoky, coffee goodness: that is the flavor of urfa biber.
  2. (countable) The good, nutritional, healthy part or content of something.
  3. (uncountable, euphemistic) God.
    Thank goodness that the war is over!
  4. (Christianity) The moral qualities which constitute Christian excellence; moral virtue.


Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]