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What Is The Meaning Of “Goody Two Shoes?”

What Is The Meaning Of “Goody Two-Shoes” Mean?

In short, the common saying “goody two-shoes” refers to someone who always acts honestly and morally. In other words, the phrase describes someone moral, who abides by the law/rules, and who does good for others. 

Examples Of “Goody Two-Shoes”

Even though this is a commonly-used phrase, it can be tricky when you first try to use it in your writing. For more guidance on how to use it, take a look at the examples below:

  • Eric is such a goody two-shoes. Last week he saw someone drop their wallet full of money. Instead of taking any of the cash, he picked it up and immediately returned it to its rightful owner.
  • Everyone in the class was loud and disruptive. They would talk during reading time and would disrespect the teacher. Being the goody two-shoes I am, I always try to sit quietly and listen. 
  • Suzie was always a goody two-shoes when it came to school. She would never cheat on tests and spend most of her time studying. When invited to go spend a night out on the town, she opted to stay in and finish work instead. 

Spelling Variations – Dash or no Dash

The use of the dash between the words two and shoes is a personal choice, and you will find both being used, as the examples

  • “Ms. Houston started her career as a goody two shoes with a glorious vocal instrument.” – The New York Times
  • “And without sounding like a goody two shoes, I just never took anything for granted.” – BBC
  • “But you’re such a goody twoshoes!” Williams interjected. – The New Yorker
  • “There was a real goody twoshoes at school who liked Paul.” – The Guardian

How Did “Goody Two-Shoes” Originate

For being such a common phrase in our daily lives, many people wonder how “goody two-shoes” originated. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear origin for where this phrase came from. It is believed that the phrase was popularized (or even coined) in a book from 1765 titled The history of Little Goody Two-Shoes.

The tale centers around a young orphan named Margery Meanwell, who is s poor that she only has one shoe. Eventually, a rich person later gifts her a full pair, which she is very excited about. Eventually, everyone in town heard about this and started calling her “goody two-shoes.”

Even though the book is a clear source of propagation for the phrase, most people agree that the expression is likely older. For instance, it is said that the phrase has occurred in works that date as far back as 1670. This means that the phrase could be around at least 350 years old! 


In the end, “goody two-shoes” is a wildly popular phrase that has lasted through the years in the English language. When commonly used, the meaning goody two-shoes is someone who acts with morality, kindness, and respect towards others. 

Even though it is a commonly used modern-day phrase, it most likely came about at least 350 years ago! 

Related: For more common expressions, click here. 

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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