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Artemis Healing Tree

Goodness is the mental recognition of the relative values of the diverse levels of divine perfection. The recognition of goodness implies a mind of moral status, a personal mind with ability to discriminate between good and evil. But the possession of goodness, greatness, is the measure of real divinity attainment.[1]


OE. gódnes; cf. MHG. guotnisse.

  • 1. The quality or condition of being good. a. Of persons: Moral excellence, virtue. Occasionally in pl.: Good qualities.

For lessons on the topic of Goodness, follow this link.

c888 K. ÆLFRED Boeth. xxxvii. §3 {Edh}æs godan godnes bi{th} his a{asg}en god and his a{asg}en edlean, swa bi{th} eac {th}æs yfelan yfel his a{asg}en yfel. c1175 Lamb. Hom. 81 {Th}es patriarches..gode men weren..and al {th}os godnesse hom ne mihte werien, {th}et ho ne wenden alle in to helle. 1297 R. GLOUC. (Rolls) 739 {Th}e king of france hurde telle of ire godnesse & bed hire fader granti him {th}e gode cordeile. c1340 Cursor M. 10086 (Trin.) Ful leef was vs {th}at lady lele {Th}at godenesses [Gött. bountes] bare in hir so fele. c1410 HOCCLEVE Mother of God 30 Temple of our Lord and roote of al goodnesse. c1450 St. Cuthbert (Surtees) 4783 To bryng his folk to gudnes. c1500 Melusine xxi. 134 Goodnes & bounte is betre than fayrenes & beaulte. 1603 SHAKES. Meas. for M. III. i. 215 Vertue is bold, and goodnes neuer fearefull. 1672 TEMPLE Ess. Govt. Wks. 1731 I. 98 Goodness, is that which makes Men prefer their Duty and their Promise before their Passions, or their Interest. 1840 MILL Diss. & Disc. (1859) II. 69. note, Fewer small goodnesses, but more greatness. 1876 MOZLEY Univ. Serm. iv. 85 Gifts of the intellect and not constitute moral goodness.

b. Of things material or immaterial: Absolute or comparative excellence in respect of some specified or implied quality. Now somewhat rare.

1387-8 T. USK Test. Love Prol. 3 Of the goodnesse or of the badnesse of the sentence take they litel hede or els non. 1488-9 Act 4 Hen. VII c. 8 Every other Cloth..abrode be sold..after the rate of the godenesse therof. 1589 COGAN Haven Health cxciv. (1636) 176 The goodnesse of the pasture helpeth much to the goodnesse of the milke. 1631 GOUGE God's Arrows iii. §9. 202 Circumstances make much to the goodnesse or badnesse of an action. 1651 HOBBES Leviath. II. xxvi. 146 Depending..on the goodnesse of a mans own naturall Reason. 1719 LONDON & WISE Compl. Gard. 221 The Lettuces are gather'd first, and after~wards the Endives arrive to their full Goodness. 1781 T. JEFFERSON Corr. Wks. 1859 I. 298 Our superiority in the goodness, though not in the number of our cavalry. 1812 WOODHOUSE Astron. xliii. 429 Telescopes of the same power and goodness. 1845 STEPHEN Comm. Laws Eng. (1874) I. 45 The goodness of a custom depends upon its having been used time out of mind. 1870 MAX MÜLLER Sci. Relig. (1873) 2 Such was the goodness of the cause I had then to defend.

  • 2. Moral excellence as displayed in one's relations to others. a. As an attribute of the Deity ({dag}said also of Christ and the Virgin Mary): Infinite benevolence, a desire for the happiness of all created beings; also the manifestation of this; beneficence.

c888 K. ÆLFRED Boeth. xxxv. §5 {Th}u sædes {th}æt Godes goodnes & his {asg}esæli{asg}nes & he self {th}æt {th}æt wære eall an. c1200 Vices & Virtues (1888) 83 Acc nu ic bidde {edh}e, for {edh}ine michele godnesse. c1340 Cursor M. 3411 (Trin.) Oure lord {th}at is of godenes [other MSS. bounte] boun To ysaac {ygh}af his benesoun. c1386 CHAUCER Man of Law's T. 853 Til cristes mooder..Hath shapen, thurgh hir endelees goodnesse, To make an ende of al hir heuynesse. 1413 Pilgr. Sowle (Caxton 1483) IV. xii. 63 We owen nought for his goodnesse to done hym vnryght. c1460 Towneley Myst. iv. 271, I thank the, lord, well of goodnes. 1526 Pilgr. Perf. (W. de W. 1531) 5 The goodnes of god..hath ordeyned that [etc.]. 1620 SANDERSON Serm. ad Clerum iii. (1674) 43 As Power is ascribed to the Father, and Wisdom to the Son; so is Goodness to the Holy Ghost. 1662 Bk. Com. Prayer, Pr. for all Conditions of Men, We commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are any ways afflicted. 1699 BURNET 39 Art. i. (1700) 29 The chief Act and Design of Goodness, is the making us truly good. 1738 WESLEY Psalms XIII. x, I sing the goodness of the Lord, The goodness I experience now. 1860 PUSEY Min. Proph. 562 Goodness is that attribute of God, whereby He loveth to communicate to all, who can or will receive it, all good.

b. In men: Kindly feeling; kindness, generosity, clemency; the manifestation of this. Frequent in phrase have the goodness to..., as a form of polite request (? orig. a Gallicism, = F. ayez la bonté de).

c1000 ÆLFRIC Hom. II. 508 Se hal{asg}a hi eft alysde, and let hi for{edh}gan for his godnysse. a1300 Cursor M. 10426 (Gött.) Quen {th}at {th}ar day was cumyn of {th}e fest, {th}an men suld bolde {th}aim to be blith, And ilk man his godness to kith. c1386 CHAUCER Melib. {page}777 We preien yow and biseke yow..that it lyke vn-to youre grete goodnesse to fulfillen in dede youre goodliche wordes. 1548 HALL Chron., Hen. VII, 34b, The kynge of hys goodnes remitted their offence, and restored them to their libertie. 1613 SHAKES. Hen. VIII, III. ii. 263 Your great Goodnesse, out of holy pitty, Absolu'd him with an Axe. 1680 BURNET Rochester (1692) 55 Goodness is an inclination to promote the Happiness of others. 1709 PONCET Voy. Æthiopia 29 He had the Goodness to give us a Person to be our Safe-guard. 1768 STERNE Sent. Journ. (1778) I. 75 (Remise) Have the goodness, step in. 1798 FERRIAR Illustr. Sterne i. 20 Mary received him with goodness. 1855 MACAULAY Hist. Eng. xii. III. 221 The indulgence, he said, was grossly abused:..his Majesty would soon have reason to repent his goodness.

  • 3. a. Advantage, benefit, profit. Rarely pl. Obs.

a1300 Cursor M. 718 (Gött.) He thoght {th}at thing forto stint, {th}at godd to gret goddnes had mint. 1303 R. BRUNNE Handl. Synne 10599 Hys bro{th}er had {th}e godenesse of hys song. c1400 MANDEVILLE (Roxb.) xviii. 85 {Th}e folk wirschepez {th}e ox..for {th}e sympilnes and {th}e gudeness {th}at commez of him. 1502 Ord. Crysten Men (W. de W. 1506) I. iv. 42 All ye goodnesses of grace of benedyccyon & of glory. 1551 ROBINSON tr. More's Utop. I. (Arb.) 51 A matter whiche..should be..great commoditie and goodness to the opener and detectour of the same. 1583 STANYHURST Æneis III. (Arb.) 71 Too turne too goodnesse this sight and merciles omen.

b. Good fortune; prosperity. Obs. rare.

1422 tr. Secreta Secret., Priv. Priv. (E.E.T.S.) 199 In this wyse he knew god ayeyne in angwysche and in myssayse, whych he had foryetene whan he was in his goodnes. 1550 COVERDALE Spir. Perle xviii. (? 1555) 139 After trouble and aduersite foloweth al maner of goodnes and felicite.

  • 4.a. quasi-concr. Something good, a good act or deed. Obs.

1297 R. GLOUC. (Rolls) 8936 {Th}e godnesse, {th}at {th}e king henry & {th}e quene Mold Dude here to Engelond, ne may neuere be told. c1300 St. Brandan 533 For no godnisse that ich habbe i-do bote of oure Louerdes Milce and ore. 1523 FITZHERB. Husb. §162 Yf thou wolde haue any goodnes done vnto ye..lykewyse sholdest thou do vnto thy neybour, yf it lye in thy power. a1533 LD. BERNERS Huon xliii. 142 All the goodness and greate gyftes that I haue gyuen among you. 1568 GRAFTON Chron. II. 370 That he was right joyous to be in his presence, trusting that some goodnesse should grow thereby.

b. the goodness: That which is good in anything; the strength or virtue of it.

1577 B. GOOGE Heresbach's Husb. I. (1586) 45 Donng..must be laide upon the toppe of the highest of the grounde, that the goodnesse may runne to the bottome. 1796 H. GLASSE Cookery xii. 180 Strain it boiling hot through a cloth till you have all the goodness out of it. 1806 A. HUNTER Culina (ed. 3) 21 Stew till all the goodness be got from the meat. 1871 EARLE Philol. Eng. Tongue 87 Even so it is with the dialects{em}all their goodness is gone into the King's English.

  • 5. In various exclamatory phrases, in which the original reference was to the goodness of God (cf. sense 2a above), as goodness gracious!, goodness (only) knows!, {dag}for goodness!, for goodness' sake!, in the name of goodness!, (I wish) to goodness!, surely to goodness!, thank goodness!, etc., or simply goodness!

1613 SHAKES. Hen. VIII Prol. 23 Therefore, for Goodnesse sake, and as you are knowne The First and Happiest Hearers of the Towne, Be sad, as we would make ye. Ibid. III. i. 159 For Goodnesse sake, consider what you do, How you may hurt your selfe. 1642 View of Print. Book int. Observat. 20 In the name of goodnesse then, what is that which the people speak of? 1650 T. BAYLY Herba Parietis 26 He begs, and prayes her, for goodnesse sake,..that she would not speake a word of what had passed. 1704 SWIFT Battle of Bks. Misc. (1711) 246 Goodness, said Momus, can you sit idely here [etc.]? 1806 M. WILMOT Let. 13 Dec. in Russ. Jrnls. (1934) 274, I wish to Goodness all my Books were this moment in the Music Room. 1814 Love, Honor, & Interest II. iii, For goodness, sir, tell me what means this haste. 1819 P. HAWKER Diary (1893) I. 185 Here I remained..for goodness knows how many hours. 1840 DICKENS Barn. Rudge ix, Goodness gracious me! 1872 Punch 11 May 199/1 Thank goodness we have a House of Lords. 1875 TROLLOPE Way we live Now II. lxi. 68 He ‘wished to goodness’ that he had dined at his club. 1876 OUIDA Winter City xiv. 384 He thanked goodness it was the last of her caprices. 1890 ‘L. FALCONER’ Mlle. Ixe (1891) 75, I wish to goodness your people would give a dance, Evelyn!

In the first quot. the sense of for goodness' sake may be merely ‘in order to be kind’; in the second from the same play it is rather ‘as you trust in the goodness of God’ (cf. for mercy's, pity's sake, where there is a similar equivoque). The phrases are not now in dignified use.