Definition of good in English:


Syllabification: good
Pronunciation: /go͝od

adjective (better /ˈbetər/, best /best/)

  • 1To be desired or approved of: we live at peace with each other, which is good a good quality of life [as exclamation]: Good! The more people the better!
    More example sentences
    • This side have a good hunger and they've got desire and they are good qualities to have.
    • Perhaps Edinburgh people are more confident of having good jobs and money in the future.
    • She was given the task of bringing me up and instilling reasonably good values in me.
    healthy, fine, sound, tip-top, hale and hearty, fit, robust, sturdy, strong, vigorousfine, very well, all right, right, all right then, yes, agreed
    informal okay, OK, okey-dokey
  • 1.1Pleasing and welcome: she was pleased to hear good news about him
    More example sentences
    • Everything fell into place for us once the game began and the good start was very welcome.
    • Any action is welcome and a good sign that Government is taking the problem seriously.
    • It was a welcome piece of good fortune for the Scot, who blamed the wind for losing time in the middle sector of his lap.
  • 1.2Expressing approval: the play had good reviews
    More example sentences
    • The series received rotten reviews, then good ones, and the viewing figures blossomed.
    • As an unknown first-time author, to get such a good review was a dream come true.
    • While the reviews have been good, some critics have said the work has the hallmarks of a first draft.
  • 5 [attributive] Thorough: the attic needed a good cleaning have a good look around
    More example sentences
    • Besides, the girl needed to have a good cry, a thorough, good, hard and long cry.
    • He invited many a look of surprise on days when he parked the plane on the front lawn so he could give the garage a good spring clean.
    • Then he gave himself a good shake, and set to the task of a good clean and groom.
  • 5.1Used to emphasize that a number is at least as great as one claims: they’re a good twenty years younger
    More example sentences
    • I think the accusations against him on this kind of thing go back a good ten years at least.
    • James Goodwin was at least a good three inches shorter AND was half his size when it came to body weight.
    • However, used-car buyers should rejoice in the fact that they at least tried for a good few years.
  • 5.2Used to emphasize a following adjective: we had a good long hug
    More example sentences
    • This is fed by conventions used in a good many American mainstream films in particular.
    • She chose an old white dress she hadn't worn in a good many years, so no one would recognize it.
    • Dance in and out, start with a good strong jab and then follow with the power right.
  • 5.3Fairly large: a good crowd figurative there’s a good chance that we may be able to help you
    More example sentences
    • This weekend is shaping as a very good game and it should be played in front of a good size crowd.
    • The goal spurred the home side on, and cheered by a good sized crowd they looked the more likely to score.
    • The rooms in The Moorings are generous and bright, while the back garden is a good size.
    considerable, sizable, substantial, appreciable, significant; goodly, fair, reasonable; plentiful, abundant, great, large, generous
    informal tidy
  • 6Used in conjunction with the name of God or a related expression as an exclamation of extreme surprise or anger: good heavens!
    More example sentences
    • Good Lord, the battery is dead.


Back to top  
  • 2Benefit or advantage to someone or something: he convinces his father to use his genius for the good of mankind the preservation of old buildings matters because they contribute to the general public good he is too clever for his own good
    More example sentences
    • It is fiscal nonsense not to reap the benefits for the good of their own members.
    • The benefits of watching wild animals outweigh any good that might come from killing them.
    • It doesn't appear that the mass membership suggested by your article is doing the service much good.
    benefit, advantage, profit, gain, interest, welfare, well-being; enjoyment, comfort, ease, convenience; help, aid, assistance, service; behalf
  • 3 (goods) Merchandise or possessions: imports of luxury goods [in singular]: the market price of an agricultural good
    More example sentences
    • Instead he is appealing to the better nature of those responsible or anyone who has the goods in their possession now.
    • The country has never really exported enough goods to pay the import bills.
    • It contended that the advertising ban had a greater effect on imported goods than on those produced in Sweden.
    merchandise, wares, stock, commodities, produce, products, articles; imports, exportsproperty, possessions, worldly possessions, effects, chattels, valuables
    informal things, stuff, junk, gear, bits and pieces
  • 3.1British Things to be transported, as distinct from passengers: a means of transporting passengers as well as goods [as modifier]: a goods train
    More example sentences
    • Trains can transport people and goods faster, more safely and more efficiently than roads.
    • Lyneham aircraft transported all kinds of goods and materials to the city.
    • Because of our geographical position, it costs more to transport goods to us.
  • 3.2 (the goods) • informal The genuine article.
    More example sentences
    • He had managed to steal it and was under contract to produce the goods.
    • It was the spur Kerry were looking for as they produced the goods to soar past Cork.
    • And after so many near misses, now would be a good time to produce the goods in a major championship.


informal Back to top  
  • Well: my mother could never cook this good
    More example sentences
    • This technique does seem to work pretty good for me, a little too good sometimes, I think.
    • Now you know I can't sleep very good in a big bed like that.
    • Whatever the hell they do with their instruments, it seems to work pretty damn good.


all to the good

To be welcomed without qualification.
More example sentences
  • That we have to support, and if the administration moves in that direction or is prodded to move in that direction that is all to the good because there is no alternative.
  • This sort of process is going on throughout the country, and is all to the good.
  • This is all to the good and, frankly, given our values, one would expect it.

as good as ——

Very nearly ——: she’s as good as here
More example sentences
  • He knows his party is dying - or is as good as dead.
  • Charlie is as good as dead, and yet they manage to bring him round.
  • It looked as good as dead but at the very tip they were these unmistakable shoots of green leaves.
Used of a result which will inevitably follow: if we pass on the information, he’s as good as dead
More example sentences
  • After a lull of about two months, the two sides resumed fighting, and the escalation of tension has reached the point where the December agreement is as good as dead.
  • Yates was faced with the first of two terrible decisions: should he abandon his friend - whom they both knew was as good as dead - or try to get him down the mountain?
  • He added his second in the 76th minutes and when Kevin Williamson added the third a minute later the game was as good as dead.

be any (or no or much) good

Have some (or none or much) merit: tell me whether that picture is any good
More example sentences
  • I'll take the camera but there are no guarantees that the pictures will be any good; usually I can only manage blurred, chopped off heads and just plain naff!
  • When I went off to grad school after college, I decided to start writing down all the little ideas I had during the day, whether they were any good or not (this is all starting to sound very familiar).
  • You would think that he might want to assess whether they were any good or not, or at least meet them, before giving them the long white envelopes.
Be of some (or none or much) help in dealing with a situation: it was no good trying to ward things off
More example sentences
  • Arguing with them is no good, especially as that labels you as a member of the opposition party.
  • It was no good arguing that wage levels reflected forced labour and the absence of union rights or that competition was unfair - the old system was flawed.
  • It was argued that it is no good earmarking funds for footballing academies if the fear is that clubs are about to lose a generation of supporters.

be so good as (or be good enough) to do something

Used to make a polite request: would you be so good as to answer
More example sentences
  • Please don't consider me impolite when I ask you, as gracefully as I can under the circumstances, if you would be so good as to sling your hook.
  • I therefore asked the man if he'd be so good as to move the money.
  • Perhaps you would be so good as to publish the link as a further comment to the topic.

be —— to the good

Have a specified net profit or advantage: I came out $7 to the good
More example sentences
  • The local side dominated the game from the start and were a goal to the good after 15 minutes with a well placed shot from Dale Warburton (St. Joseph's).
  • The visitors were a goal to the good before the interval but Acomb almost equalised when the ball appeared to cross the Metros line after great work by Wendy Watson.
  • The visitors to St Martins Park were quicker out of the starting blocks and they were a goal to the good inside the opening minute of the game.

come up with (or deliver) the goods

informal Do what is expected or required of one.
More example sentences
  • I'm a Rangers fan, and the footballer I always expected to come up with the goods in big situations was Ally McCoist.
  • But just when you least expect it the players come up with the goods, which shows there is still a great spirit in the camp.
  • Basically, the agency I'm going through is fantastic, the woman case managing me is really coming up with the goods, and I'm going for loads of interviews for jobs that I actually want to do.

do good

  • 1Act virtuously, especially by helping others.
    More example sentences
    • They both ask people to be virtuous, and they both do good to their followers.
    • If we had to limit our interviews to everybody who was doing good and contributing to society, I'm afraid that might be an awfully short list.
    • The banks, by way of being seen to be doing good, will also remind us of how much they contribute to the Treasury to help Gordon Brown pay for hospitals and schools.
  • 2Make a helpful contribution to a situation: could the discussion do any good?
    More example sentences
    • On one hand, a lot of it seems more devoted to hyping the careers of Jerry and his friends than to actually doing good for folks afflicted with muscular dystrophy.

do someone good

Be beneficial to someone, especially to their health: the walk will do you good
More example sentences
  • Usually I can't wait to get home, but every so often it does you good to walk out through the streets you'd never normally use, and see what you're missing.
  • A walk would also do you good, preferably somewhere like a beach or a big park.
  • I thought the walk would do me good, but I forgot about the time entirely.

for good (and all)

Forever; definitively: the experience almost frightened me away for good
More example sentences
  • Along the way, we've produced ‘new age’ books, and even a thriller - attempts to broaden our commercial base on the assumption that this would help our poetry list; but I've learned for good and all that this is false reasoning.
  • Evans casts doubt on some of the experiences he deals with and asks the right questions: why, for instance, does a ghost ‘never leave any souvenir or trace which would settle the matter of their reality status for good and all?’
  • We begin with the two hobbits Frodo and Sam journeying towards Mordor to dispose of the Ring for good and all.
forever, permanently, for always, evermore, forevermorefor ever and ever, for eternity, never to return, forevermore
informal for keeps, until the cows come home, until hell freezes over
archaic for aye

get (or have) the goods on

informal Obtain (or possess) information about (someone) that may be used to their detriment.
More example sentences
  • He's got the goods on how we all use our computers to goof off and waste time on the job.
  • Brass's assigned to pose as a con so he can get the goods on what's happening inside the prison.
  • But the Feds didn't have the goods on James, so the charges were dropped.

good and ——

informal Used as an intensifier before an adjective or adverb: it’ll be good and dark by then
More example sentences
  • I hope to be up and about good and early to avoid the rush but we'll have to see.
  • As a matter of fact, we were all for making him another one, just to finish off the job good and proper.
  • Heat a little olive oil in the frying pan until it's good and hot, then add the onion and carrots.

(as) good as gold

(Especially of a child) extremely well behaved.
More example sentences
  • When it comes to cars and driving at least, this Humvee owner is good as gold.
  • When we got him back to the surgery he came around and was good as gold.
  • Ever since I've been here he has been as good as gold to me.

(as) good as new

In a very good condition or state, close to the original state again after damage, injury, or illness: the skirt looked as good as new
More example sentences
  • We're just glad the fireman got him out and he seems good as new now.
  • A few days rest in there and she'll be good as new!
  • He could sleep on the couch, by morning he'll be good as new.

the Good Book

The Bible.
More example sentences
  • On the other hand, various religious groups have used the Good Book and their own commentaries and other writings to foster alternative views of truth.
  • The Good Book finds new niches: specialty editions of the bible for African Americans and youth are reaping rewards for publishers.
  • This week marks the 400th anniversary of the commissioning of the King James Bible, the first authorised version of the Good Book to be rendered in plain English.

good for

  • 1Having a beneficial effect on: smoking is not good for the lungs
    More example sentences
    • In fact, most firms welcomed the benefit of certainty, and it was very good for cash flow.
    • Games like this are not only good for children, but adults can benefit greatly from them as well.
    • The body does not care if that excess energy came from food that is good for you or from junk food.
  • 2Reliably providing: they found him good for a laugh
    More example sentences
    • There are these incidents of air-rage, which the papers seem to think are good for a laugh.
    • They always seemed good for a laugh and one couldn't help feel quite protective of them.
    • She was good for a laugh but all the lads knew that she was devoted to Tom and the kids, so it was all just for fun.
  • 2.1Sufficient to pay for: his money was good for a bottle of whiskey

good for you (or him, her, etc.)!

Used as an exclamation of approval toward a person, especially for something that they have achieved: “I’m taking my driving test next month.” “Good for you!”
More example sentences
  • If you tend to pay your credit card bill off in full each month (good for you!) you may already have one of these - a cashback credit card.
  • She told me that she has been dating her boyfriend for three months now, to which I gave her an enthusiastic ‘wow, good for you!’
  • If you are with me to see where I catch my fish, well hey, good on you!

the Good Shepherd

A name for Jesus.
[with biblical allusion to John 10: 1–16]
More example sentences
  • In these cases, he urged the superiors to follow the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd, who left ninety-nine of his flock on the mountains to go in search of the one sheep that had strayed.
  • Through his meditation, John came to see Jesus as the Bread of Life, the Good Shepherd, and the Light of the World - all of the messages that made their way into the gospel that bears his name.
  • It is for people who commit themselves to following the lead that Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gives.

good wine needs no bush

see wine1.

a good word

Words in recommendation or defense of a person: I hoped you might put in a good word for me with your friends
More example sentences
  • It never seems anybody ever has a good word for him.
  • As a politician, his one mistake was, as I recall, telephoning a member of the judiciary and putting in a good word for a constituent.
  • Nobody had a good word to say about their departed leader.

have a good mind to do something

see mind.

in someone's good books

see book.

in good time

  • 1With no risk of being late: I arrived in good time
    More example sentences
    • The wake would be conducted for the first night, and the following evening the hearse would arrive at the house in good time.
    • The teeing-off time is from 9.30-11.00 am and all those competing are asked to arrive in good time.
    • The traffic was very light and we arrived in good time.
  • 2 (also all in good time) In due course but without haste: you shall have a puppy all in good time
    More example sentences
    • Slowly, slowly, and all in good time, of course, as I have my Ph.D to attend to first and foremost!
    • There is the opportunity to do fun stuff, but all in good time: my job, to play football, is the most important thing.
    • I was only nine years old - I didn't understand that everything would come all in good time.

make good

Be successful: a college friend who made good in Hollywood
More example sentences
  • Let us hope that our emigrant arrived safely and made good in the new world.
  • Another example of the underdog making good is the rise and rise of the documentary feature.
  • PE makes it good with soccer and football her favourites.
succeed, be successful, be a success, do well, get ahead, reach the top; prosper, flourish, thrive

make something good

  • 1Compensate for loss, damage, or expense: if I scratched the table, I’d make good the damage
    More example sentences
    • The smallest number we ever sold, by the way, was 60 out of 1,000; but fortunately my predecessor as man in charge had made a deal with a rich enthusiast that any loss on the book would be made good.
    • Although population losses can be made good very quickly, in Ireland population growth remained low for the rest of the century as a result of late marriage.
    • These early losses were made good through new building and captured Axis ships.
  • 1.1Repair or restore after damage: make good the wall where you have buried the cable
    More example sentencesSynonyms
    repair, mend, fix, put right, see to; restore, remedy, rectify

one good turn deserves another

see turn.

put a good face on something

see face.

take something in good part

Not be offended by something: he took her abruptness in good part
More example sentences
  • Some took it in good part, while others found it less easy to shrug off.
  • They took it in good part and proceeded to show me aikido's ‘unbendable arm.’
  • The French are increasingly seen as favourites to win the whole damn thing and they are taking it in good part.

up to no good

Doing something wrong.
More example sentences
  • Of course now that I am the parent, it would be wrong to assume that the teens I know are up to no good, so I work hard to give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Although, one of my ex-creditors had reported me as still living at an address I left eight years ago, which could be problematic if a subsequent resident got up to no good.
  • Even after the trial, he may have been followed by British intelligence agents, who may have felt he continued to be up to no good.


Old English gōd, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch goed and German gut.


The adverb corresponding to the adjective good is well: she is a good swimmer who performs well in meets . Confusion sometimes arises because well is also an adjective meaning ‘in good health, healthy,’ for which good is widely used informally as a substitute: I feel well , meaning ‘I feel healthy’—versus the informal I feel good , meaning either ‘I feel healthy’ or ‘I am in a good mood.’ See also bad (usage).

More definitions of good

Definition of good in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day kerf
Pronunciation: kəːf
a slit made by cutting with a saw