goodness


goodness
goodness, virtue, rectitude, morality are comparable and very general terms denoting moral excellence.
Goodness is the broadest of these terms; it suggests an excellence so deeply established that it is often felt as inherent or innate rather than acquired or instilled. Of all these terms it is the only one applied to God
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the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth— Exod 34:6

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When applied to persons it usually suggests such appealing qualities as kindness, generosity, helpfulness, and deep sympathy
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the need I have of thee thine own goodness hath made— Shak.

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she has more goodness in her little finger than he has in his whole body— Swift

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he taught that evil was a transient thing, goodness eternal— Samuel

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Virtue (see also EXCELLENCE), though often coupled with goodness as its close synonym, is distinguishable as suggesting acquired rather than native moral excellence and, often, a greater consciousness of it as a possession; usually the term implies either close conformity to the moral law or persistent choice of good and persistent rejection of evil
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virtue is its own reward

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virtue may be assailed, but never hurt, surprised by unjust force, but not enthralled— Milton

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the highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it— Macaulay

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virtue is not to be considered in the light of mere innocence, or abstaining from harm, but as the exertion of our faculties in doing good— Bp. Butler

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Since virtue often specifically implies chastity or fidelity in marriage, rectitude is frequently employed in its place when moral excellence acquired through obedience to the moral law and self-discipline is implied. But rectitude differs from virtue in often having reference to motives, intentions, and habits and not merely to character, and sometimes also in placing greater stress on such stern qualities as uprightness, integrity, and probity
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no one can question the rectitude of his purpose

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for various reasons all having to do with the delicate rectitude of his nature, Roderick Anthony . . . was frightened— Conrad

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Society is, after all, a recreation and a delight, and ought to be sought for with pleasurable motives, not with a consciousness of rectitude and justice— Benson

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All of the preceding words refer directly or indirectly to the moral excellence involved in character.
Morality may come close to virtue and rectitude in denoting a quality of character
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the will to be good and to do good—that is the simplest definition of what the world has always meant by moralityRead

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In this sense the term often specifically suggests a moral excellence that arises from fidelity to ethical principles as distinguished from one that arises from obedience to the divine law or the moral laws enforced by religious teachings
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evil must come upon us headlong, if morality tries to get on without religion— Tennyson

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But morality, unlike the other terms, commonly denotes a code of conduct
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ethical problems involved in the new morality

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a highly erotic people with a strict morality, which was always violated, a pious people who sinned with passion— Fergusson

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what do we mean by morality? Generally we mean those rules of conduct that appeal to people as generally conducive to a decent human life— Cohen

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From this sense derive applications, on the one hand, to behavior, whether morally excellent in terms of ordinary ethical standards or quite the reverse, that accords with such a code
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his behavior constituted a new low in political morality

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in Christian love and forgiveness lay some reversal of Saxon morality, for instance of the duty of revenge— H. O. Taylor

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and, on the other hand, to the propriety of behavior as weighed by such a code
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the point at issue was the morality of Wise's studiedly ambiguous use of the term "a few copies" in connection with the issue of ... a facsimile edition— A Itick

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our chief failure in dealing with the Communist revolution in China has been to underestimate the vigor of Chinese moral sentiment . . . and to pay too little attention to the morality of our own position in the eyes of the Chinese— Atlantic Monthly

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Analogous words: righteousness, nobility, virtuousness (see corre-sponding adjectives at MORAL): *honesty, integrity, probity, honor
Antonyms: badness, evil

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Goodness! — | ˌGoodness ˈme! | ˌMy ˈgoodness! | ˌGoodness ˈgracious! idiom (informal) used to express surprise • Goodness, what a big balloon! • My goodness, you have been busy! …   Useful english dictionary

  • Goodness me! — Goodness! | ˌGoodness ˈme! | ˌMy ˈgoodness! | ˌGoodness ˈgracious! idiom (informal) used to express surprise • Goodness, what a big balloon! • My goodness, you have been busy! …   Useful english dictionary

  • Goodness — Good ness, n. [AS. g[=o]dnes.] The quality of being good in any of its various senses; excellence; virtue; kindness; benevolence; as, the goodness of timber, of a soil, of food; goodness of character, of disposition, of conduct, etc. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • goodness — O.E. godnes goodness, virtue, kindliness; see GOOD (Cf. good) (adj.) + NESS (Cf. ness). In exclamations from 1610s, first recorded being for goodnesse sake, i.e. as you trust in the goodness of God …   Etymology dictionary

  • goodness — [good′nis] n. [ME goodnesse < OE godnes] 1. the state or quality of being good; specif., a) virtue; excellence b) kindness; generosity; benevolence 2. the best part, essence, or valuable element of a thing interj. used to express surprise or… …   English World dictionary

  • goodness — index benevolence (disposition to do good), decorum, ethics, good faith, honor (good reputation), integrity, merit …   Law dictionary

  • goodness — [n] decency, excellence advantage, beneficence, benefit, benevolence, ethicality, friendliness, generosity, good will, grace, graciousness, honesty, honor, humaneness, integrity, kindheartedness, kindliness, kindness, mercy, merit, morality,… …   New thesaurus

  • goodness — ► NOUN 1) the quality of being good. 2) the nutritious element of food. ► EXCLAMATION ▪ (as a substitution for ‘God’) expressing surprise, anger, etc …   English terms dictionary

  • goodness — good|ness S2 [ˈgudnıs] n [U] ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1 my goodness!/goodness (gracious) me! 2 for goodness sake 3 goodness (only) knows 4¦(being good)¦ 5¦(best part)¦ 6 have the goodness to do something 7 out of the goodness of somebody s heart ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1.) …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • goodness — good|ness1 [ gudnəs ] interjection * used for showing that you are surprised: Goodness, is it time to go already? goodness me: Goodness me! You ve grown! goodness gracious (me): Goodness gracious me! What do you mean? my goodness (me): My… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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