American English

Definition of goodness noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1the quality of being good the essential goodness of human nature evidence of God's goodness Which Word?good / goodness The noun good means actions and behavior that are morally right. You can talk about a person doing good:The charity does a lot of good. the difference between good and evil. Goodness is the quality of being good. You can talk about a person’s goodness:Her goodness shone through.
  2. 2the part of something that has a useful effect on someone or something, especially someone's health These vegetables have had all the goodness boiled out of them. Branches pruned from the trees are shredded so the goodness goes back into the soil.
  3. Idioms
      God/goodness/Heaven knows (informal)
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    1. 1used to emphasize that you do not know something God knows what else they might find. “Where are they?” “Goodness knows.” Some people may find the use of God knows offensive.
    2. 2used to emphasize the truth of what you are saying She ought to pass the exam—goodness knows she's been working hard enough.
    Goodness!, Goodness me!, My goodness!, Goodness gracious! (informal)
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    used to express surprise Goodness, what a big balloon! My goodness, you have been busy! Goodness me, no!
    honest to God/goodness
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    used to emphasize that what you are saying is true Honest to God, Mary, I'm not joking. Some people find this use offensive.
    out of the goodness of your heart
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    from feelings of kindness, without thinking about what advantage there will be for you You're not telling me he offered to lend you the money out of the goodness of his heart?
    thank God/goodness/heaven(s) (for something)
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    used to say that you are pleased about something Thank God you're safe! “Thank goodness for that!” she said with a sigh of relief. Thanks heavens I've found my keys. Some people find the phrase thank God offensive.
    to God/goodness/Heaven
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    used after a verb to emphasize a particular hope, wish, etc. I wish to God you'd learn to pay attention! Some people find this use offensive.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: goodness