Goody Two Shoes – Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

This quirky expression “goody two shoes” is one we use to describe someone who’s a do-gooder type of person. But the phrase has a pretty unique history, so I’ll break it down for you, go over its history, and show you how to properly use it in the right context.

Goody Two Shoes Meaning

Goody Two Shoes Origin Meaning

The simple term “goody two shoes” is one we use in English when describing a person who’s excessively well-behaved or just too concerned with appearing morally upright. Most people use it in a sarcastic or mocking sort of tone, which implies the individual in question is just trying way too hard to please others.

A teacher’s pet is a good example of a goody two shoes or a friend who just agrees with everything you say just to keep you happy.

Is It Goodie Two Shoes or Goody Two Shoes?

Goody Two Shoes Ngram
Goody two shoes usage trend.

The correct spelling you should remember is “goody two shoes,” even though “goodie two shoes” is a common misspelling you’ll see around. Sure, both versions of the phrase will probably be understood by most people, but it’s essential to always use the correct spelling of words and phrases, especially in formal situations. Although, I can’t think of a formal situation where you’d use “goody two shoes”!

Origin of Goody Two Shoes

The original phrase “goody two shoes” comes from a children’s story published by an anonymous author in 1765 titled “The History of Little Goody Two Shoes.” It was actually considered the very first children’s novel! The story follows a young orphan girl named Margery Meanwell, who only has one shoe.

It’s an old story, but the overarching lesson is that Margery, a poor little girl with only one shoe, is given a new pair of shoes as a gift. She then grows up to help other poor children and is coined as “goody two shoes.”

Is “Goody Two Shoes” Hyphenated?

Goody Two Shoes vs Goody Two Shoes Ngram
Goody two shoes and goody two-shoes usage trend.

Both ways are correct, but if you decide to use a hyphen, you only need to do so with “two” and “shoes,” so it’s “goody two-shoes.” However, if you’re using it as an adjective phrase before a noun, you need to hyphenate the whole phrase as “goody-two-shoes.”

Synonyms for the Expression Goody Two Shoes

  • Goody-goody
  • Prude
  • Do-gooder
  • Saint
  • Puritan
  • Moralizer

Goody Two Shoes Examples in a Sentence

Goody Two Shoes Origin Meaning 2
  • I can’t stand that Sarah is such a goody two shoes; she never breaks the rules, even when nobody is watching.
  • Mark always acts like a goody two-shoes at work, but I know he’s not as innocent as he pretends to be.
  • The new teacher’s pet is a real goody two shoes, don’t you think so?
  • Are you bringing your goody-two-shoes friend with you?
  • Amy! Stop doing everything; no one likes a goody two shoes!
  • Sick and tired of being labeled as a goody two shoes, Janice decided to break a few rules.

Are You a Goody Two Shoes?

I remember in elementary school; I was always helping others and jumping at the chance to assist the teacher. No one said it to my face, but now I know that I was such a goody two shoes! But I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with being too good. I hope my guide helped explain the meaning of goody two shoes to you! Check out my other grammar guides!