Meaning of “goodness” in the English Dictionary

"goodness" in British English

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goodnessnoun [ U ]

uk /ˈɡʊd.nəs/ us /ˈɡʊd.nəs/

goodnessexclamation

uk /ˈɡʊd.nəs/ us /ˈɡʊd.nəs/ also goodness gracious

used to express any strong emotion, especially surprise:

(My) goodness! how many more times do I have to tell you!
Goodness gracious (me), what a terrible thought!

More examples

  • Goodness! What an enormous garden you have!
  • Goodness me! What's that awful smell?
  • My goodness! What a wonderful view!
  • Goodness! How did you manage to get here so quickly?
  • Goodness gracious! What on earth was that bang?

(Definition of “goodness” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"goodness" in American English

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goodnessnoun [ U ]

us /ˈɡʊd·nəs/

used in many fixed expressions to show emotion, esp. surprise:

Goodness! I thought you’d gone home already!

goodness noun [ U ] (MORALLY RIGHT)

the quality of being morally right and admirable:

I believe in the basic goodness of human nature.

(Definition of “goodness” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)