Goody two shoes

Photo of author


Goody two shoes is an idiom with a very old origin. We will look at the current meaning of the term goody two shoes, the original meaning, where it comes from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A goody two shoes is a person who is overly well-behaved, someone who is smugly virtuous. The word goody, at one time, was a respectful term of address for a married woman of modest means, an abbreviation of the word goodwife. The goody two shoes in question is a character in a children’s story published in 1765. The work is entitled The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes and tells the story of an orphan girl who is so poor that she only owns one shoe. A benefactor hears her pitiful story and gifts her with a second shoe. This pleases the young waif so much that she runs from one person to another stating that she has “two shoes!” The girl grows up to be a teacher and marry a prosperous man, demonstrating the rewards of being a good and grateful person. This story did not immediately give birth to the idiom goody two shoes, however. During the 1870s the term goody-goody arose to describe someone overly pious or well-behaved, it was a short leap to the term goody two shoes. The idiom goody two shoes is sometimes seen with a hyphen as in goody two-shoes, though the Oxford English Dictionary only lists the term without a hyphen.


He said: “If you’re going to make Christian films which paint the world as a goody two-shoes place where perfect Christians help people who aren’t so perfect come to the light, that’s just not the world we live in.” (Premier Magazine)

Naina on the other hand plays a goody two-shoes and after seeming to have more than enough time in the world to listen to the venom aunty spews, she decides to soften the oldie up by relaying her story. (India Today)

Help Us Improve!

Help Us Improve!

- Did we make a mistake?
- Do you have feedback or suggestions on how we can improve?

press Enter

Use Shift+Tab to go back