Good riddance

Good riddance is an idiom that has been in use for hundreds of years. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom good riddance, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Good riddance is a declaration of relief one makes when freed from something or someone bothersome or annoying. The word riddance is the action of ridding oneself of a pest or irksome person or thing; however, it is an archaic word and is almost never seen outside of its use in the idiom, good riddance. The expression good riddance dates back to Shakespeare’s time; it is found in the play, Troilus and Cressida, produced in 1606. The phrase is sometimes augmented: good riddance to bad rubbish. This iteration of the phrase came into use around the turn of the nineteenth century.


“Good riddance to Anthony, he can now get himself a job at ratings-dead CNN or MSDNC!” the ex-president said. (Daily Mail)

Good riddance to the office suit – now every day is ‘dress down day’ (Independent)

The 2020 baseball season is going to end soon and the most popular response around here will likely be good riddance to bad rubbish. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

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