goo (n.) Look up goo at
1903, American English, of obscure origin, probably a back-formation from gooey.
goo-goo (adj.) Look up goo-goo at
"amorous," 1900, perhaps connected with goggle, because the earliest reference is in goo-goo eyes. Use in reference to politics is from 1890s and seems to be a shortening of Good Government as the name of a movement to clean up municipal corruption in Boston, New York, etc. It soon was extended to mean "naive political reformer." Goo-goo as imitative of baby-talk is from 1863.
goober (n.) Look up goober at
"peanut," 1833, gouber, American English, from an African language, perhaps Bantu (compare Kikongo and Kimbundu nguba "peanut").
good (adj.) Look up good at
Old English god (with a long "o") "excellent, fine; valuable; desirable, favorable, beneficial; full, entire, complete;" of abstractions, actions, etc., "beneficial, effective; righteous, pious;" of persons or souls, "righteous, pious, virtuous;" probably originally "having the right or desirable quality," from Proto-Germanic *godaz "fitting, suitable" (cognates: Old Norse goðr, Dutch goed, Old High German guot, German gut, Gothic goþs), originally "fit, adequate, belonging together," from PIE root *ghedh- "to unite, be associated, suitable" (cognates: Old Church Slavonic godu "pleasing time," Russian godnyi "fit, suitable," Old English gædrian "to gather, to take up together").

Irregular comparative and superlative (better, best) reflect a widespread pattern in words for "good," as in Latin bonus, melior, optimus.

Sense of "kind, benevolent" is from late Old English in reference to persons or God, from mid-14c. of actions. That of "friendly, gracious" is from c. 1200. Meaning "fortunate, prosperous, favorable" was in late Old English. As an expression of satisfaction, from early 15c. Of persons, "skilled (at a profession or occupation), expert," in late Old English, now typically with at; in Middle English with of or to. Of children, "well-behaved," by 1690s. Of money, "not debased, standard as to value," from late 14c. From c. 1200 of numbers or quantities, "large, great," of time or distance, "long;" good while "a considerable time" is from c. 1300; good way "a great distance" is mid-15c.
Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing. ["As You Like It"]
As good as "practically, virtually" is from mid-14c.; to be good for "beneficial to" is from late 14c. To make good "repay (costs, expenses), atone for (a sin or an offense)" is from late 14c. To have a good mind "have an earnest desire" (to do something) is from c. 1500. Good deed, good works were in Old English as "an act of piety;" good deed specifically as "act of service to others" was reinforced early 20c. by Boy Scouting. Good turn is from c. 1400. Good sport, of persons, is from 1906. The good book "the Bible" attested from 1801, originally in missionary literature describing the language of conversion efforts in American Indian tribes. Good to go is attested from 1989.
good (n.) Look up good at
Old English god (with a long "o"), "that which is good, a good thing; goodness; advantage, benefit; gift; virtue; property;" from good (adj.). Meaning "the good side" (of something) is from 1660s. Phrase for good "finally, permanently" attested from 1711, a shortening of for good and all (16c.). Middle English had for good ne ylle (early 15c.) "for good nor ill," thus "under any circumstance."
good den Look up good den at
salutation, Elizabethan corruption of good e'en, itself a contraction of good even "good evening," which is attested from c. 1500, first as gud devon, showing a tendency toward misdivision. See good (adj.) + even (n.).
Good Friday (n.) Look up Good Friday at
the Friday before Easter, c. 1300, from good (adj.) in Middle English sense of "holy, sacred," especially of holy days or seasons observed by the church; the word also was applied to Christmas and Shrove Tuesday. Good Twelfthe Dai (c. 1500) was Epiphany (the twelfth day after Christmas).
good morning Look up good morning at
greeting salutation, c. 1400, from good (adj.) + morning. Earlier good morwe (late 14c.), from morrow.
good will (n.) Look up good will at
Old English godes willan "state of wishing well to another;" see good (adj.) + will (n.). Meaning "cheerful acquiescence" is from c. 1300. In the commercial sense "degree of favor enjoyed through patronage of customers" from 1570s.
good-bye Look up good-bye at
salutation in parting, also goodbye, good bye, good-by, 1590s, from godbwye (1570s), a contraction of God be with ye (late 14c.), influenced by good day, good evening, etc. As a noun from 1570s. Intermediate forms in 16c. include God be wy you, God b'uy, God buoye, God buy, etc.
good-day (n.) Look up good-day at
early 12c., "a fortunate day," also, generally, "good fortune;" from good (adj.) + day (n.). As a salutation in parting, haue godne day "have good day" is recorded from c. 1200; good day as a greeting is from late 14c.
good-for-nothing (adj.) Look up good-for-nothing at
"worthless," 1711, from adjectival phrase (see good (adj.)).
good-humored (adj.) Look up good-humored at
also good-humoured, 1660s, from good (adj.) + past participle adjective from humor (v.). Related: Good-humoredly.
good-looking (adj.) Look up good-looking at
1742, from good (adj.) + looking, present participle adjective from look (v.). Good looks (n.) "attractive appearance" is attested from 1712.
good-natured (adj.) Look up good-natured at
1570s, from good nature "pleasing or kind disposition" (mid-15c.), from good (adj.) + nature (n.). Related: Good-naturedly.
good-neighbor (adj.) Look up good-neighbor at
also (chiefly British English) good-neighbour, adjectival phrase, in reference to U.S. foreign policy, especially in Latin America, 1928, originally in Herbert Hoover. The good neighbours is Scottish euphemism for "the fairies" (1580s).
good-night Look up good-night at
phrase in parting for the evening or retiring to sleep, c. 1200, from good (adj.) + night. As an exclamation of surprise from 1893.
good-time (adj.) Look up good-time at
1928, from the noun phrase, from good (adj.) + time (n.). Expression to have a good time "enjoy oneself" attested from 1822; earlier have a good time of it (1771). To make good time "go fast" is from 1838. In Middle English, good time was "prosperous time," also "high time" (that something be done).
goodly (adj.) Look up goodly at
Old English godlic "excellent; comely fair;" see good (n.) + -ly (1). From c. 1200 as "considerable in size or number." Similar formation in Old Frisian godlik, Old High German guotlih, Old Norse godhligr. Related: Goodliness.
goodman (n.) Look up goodman at
"man of the house, master, husband," late Old English, from good (adj.) + man (n.). In 17c.-18c. also a familiar form of address and nearly equivalent to mister.
goodness (n.) Look up goodness at
Old English godnes "goodness, virtue, kindliness;" see good (adj.) + -ness. In exclamations from 1610s as a term of emphasis, first recorded in for goodnesse sake, i.e. "as you trust in the divine goodness" (i.e., God).
goods (n.) Look up goods at
"property," late 13c., from plural of good (n.), which had the same sense in Old English. Meaning "saleable commodities" is mid-15c.; colloquial sense of "stolen articles" is from 1900; hence figurative use, "evidence of guilt."
goodwife (n.) Look up goodwife at
"a matron, mistress of a household," early 14c., from good (adj.) + wife (n.). As a term of civility applied to a married woman in humble life, it is a correlative of goodman. "Used like auntie, and mother, and gammer, in addressing or describing an inferior" [Farmer].
goody (n.1) Look up goody at
also goodie, "something tasty," 1745, from good (adj.) + -y (2). Adjectival use for "sentimentally proper" is by 1830 (especially in reduplicated form goody-goody, 1865). As an exclamation of pleasure, by 1796.
goody (n.2) Look up goody at
1550s, a shortened form of goodwife, a term of civility applied to a married woman in humble life; hence Goody Two-shoes, name of the heroine in 1760s children's story ("The History of little Goody Two Shoes; otherwise called Mrs. Margery Two Shoes") who exulted upon acquiring a second shoe.
gooey (adj.) Look up gooey at
1893, American English slang, from goo + -y (2). The first element perhaps somehow imitative, or shortened from burgoo (1787) "thick porridge."
goof (n.) Look up goof at
1916, "stupid person," American English, perhaps a variant of English dialect goff "foolish clown" (1869), from 16c. goffe, probably from Middle French goffe "awkward, stupid," which is of uncertain origin. Or English goffe may be from Middle English goffen "speak in a frivolous manner," which is possibly from Old English gegaf "buffoonery," and gaffetung "scolding." Sense of "a blunder" is c. 1954, probably influenced by gaffe. Also compare goofer, goopher which appears in representations of African-American dialect from 1887 in the sense of "a curse, spell," probably from an African word.
goof (v.) Look up goof at
1922, "waste time;" 1941; "make a mistake," from goof (n.). Goof off is from 1941, originally World War II armed forces, "to make a mistake at drill;" by 1945 as "to loaf, waste time," also as a noun for one who does this. Related: Goofed; goofing.
goofball (n.) Look up goofball at
"narcotic drug," 1938, slang, from goof + ball (n.1). As an intensive of goof (n.), it dates from 1959.
goofiness (n.) Look up goofiness at
1929, from goofy + -ness.
goofy (adj.) Look up goofy at
1921, from goof + -y (2). The Disney character of that name began life c. 1929 as "Dippy Dawg."
google (v.) Look up google at
"to search (something) on the Google search engine," 2000 (do a google on was used by 1999). The domain was registered in 1997. According to the company, the name is a play on googol and reflects the "mission" of founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin "to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web." A verb google was an early 20c. cricket term in reference to a type of breaking ball, from googly.
googly Look up googly at
as a noun, a cricket term, 1903, of unknown origin. As an adjective, of eyes, 1901; see goo-goo.
googol (n.) Look up googol at
number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeroes, 1940, in "Mathematics and the Imagination," a layman's book on mathematics written by U.S. mathematicians Edward Kasner (1878-1955) and James R. Newman, the word supposedly coined a year or two before by Kasner's 9- (or 8-) year-old nephew (unnamed in the book's account of the event), when asked for a name for an enormous number. Perhaps influenced by comic strip character Barney Google. Googolplex (10 to the power of a googol) coined at the same time, in the same way, with plex.
gook (n.) Look up gook at
1899, U.S. military slang for "Filipino" during the insurrection there, probably from a native word, or imitative of the babbling sound of a strange language to American ears (compare barbarian). The term goo-goo eyes "soft, seductive eyes" was in vogue c. 1900 and may have contributed to this somehow. Extended over time to "Nicaraguan" (U.S. intervention there early 20c.), "any Pacific Islander" (World War II), "Korean" (1950s), "Vietnamese" and "any Asian" (1960s).
goombah (n.) Look up goombah at
by 1984, from dialectal pronunciation of Italian compare "companion, godfather" (compare compadre).
goon (n.) Look up goon at
1921, in U.S. humorist Frederick J. Allen's piece "The Goon and His Style" (Harper's Monthly Magazine, December 1921), which defines it as "a person with a heavy touch," one who lacks "a playful mind;" perhaps a made-up word, or from gony "simpleton" (1580s), which was applied by sailors to the albatross and similar big, clumsy birds. The goons were characters in the "Thimble Theater" comic strip (starring Popeye) by U.S. cartoonist E.C. Segar (1894-1938); they appeared in Segar's strips from mid-1930s and, though they reportedly gave children nightmares, enjoyed a burst of popularity when they appeared in animated cartoons in 1938. The most famous was Alice the Goon, slow-witted and muscular (but gentle-natured) character who began as the Sea Hag's assistant. Segar might have got the word directly from sailors' jargon.

Later 20c. senses of the word all probably stem from this: Sense of "hired thug" is first recorded 1938 (in reference to union "beef squads" used to cow strikers in the Pacific Northwest). She also was the inspiration for British comedian Spike Milligan's "The Goon Show." Also used among American and British POWs in World War II in reference to their German guards. What are now "juvenile delinquents" were in the 1940s sometimes called goonlets.
goose (n.) Look up goose at
"a large waterfowl proverbially noted, I know not why, for foolishness" [Johnson], Old English gos "a goose," from Proto-Germanic *gans- "goose" (cognates: Old Frisian gos, Old Norse gas, Old High German gans, German Gans "goose"), from PIE *ghans- (cognates: Sanskrit hamsah (masc.), hansi (fem.), "goose, swan;" Greek khen; Latin anser; Polish gęś "goose;" Lithuanian zasis "goose;" Old Irish geiss "swan"), probably imitative of its honking.
Geese are technically distinguished from swans and from ducks by the combination of feathered lores, reticulate tarsi, stout bill high at the base, and simple hind toe. [Century Dictionary]
Spanish ganso "goose" is from a Germanic source. Loss of "n" sound is normal before "s." Plural form geese is an example of i-mutation. Meaning "simpleton, silly or foolish person" is from early 15c. To cook one's goose first attested 1845, of unknown origin; attempts to connect it to Swedish history and Greek fables are unconvincing. Goose-egg "zero" first attested 1866 in baseball slang, from being large and round. The goose that lays golden eggs (15c.) is from Aesop.
goose (v.) Look up goose at
"jab in the rear," c. 1880, from goose (n.), possibly from resemblance of the upturned thumb to a goose's beak, or from the notion of creating nervous excitement. Related: Goosed; goosing. In 19c. theatrical slang, to be goosed meant "to be hissed" (by 1818). A broad range of sexual slang senses historically cluster around goose and gooseberry; goose and duck was rhyming slang for "fuck;" Farmer identifies Winchester goose as "a woman; whence, by implication, the sexual favor," and goose as a verb "to go wenching, to womanize, also to possess a woman." He also has goose-grease for a woman's sexual juices, while gooser and goose's neck meant "the penis." Gooseberries (they are hairy) was "testicles," and gooseberry pudding "a woman."
goose-step (n.) Look up goose-step at
1806, originally a military drill to teach balance; "to stand on each leg alternately and swing the other back and forth." This, presumably, reminded someone of a goose's way of walking. In reference to "marching without bending the knees" (as in Nazi military reviews) it apparently is first recorded 1916. As a verb by 1854.
gooseberry (n.) Look up gooseberry at
type of thorny shrub with hairy fruit, cultivated in northern Europe, 1530s, with berry, but the first part is of uncertain origin; no part of the plant seems to suggest a goose. Watkins points to Old French grosele "gooseberry," which is from Germanic. Or perhaps from German Krausebeere or Kräuselbeere, related to Middle Dutch croesel "gooseberry," and to German kraus "crispy, curly" [Klein, etc.]. By either path it could be related to the Germanic group of words in kr-/cr- and meaning "to bend, curl; bent, crooked; rounded mass." Under this theory, gooseberry would be folk etymology. But OED editors find no reason to prefer this to a literal reading, because "the grounds on which plants and fruits have received names associating them with animals are so commonly inexplicable, that the want of appropriateness in the meaning affords no sufficient ground for assuming that the word is an etymological corruption."

As slang for a fool, 1719, perhaps an extended form of goose (n.) in this sense, or a play on gooseberry fool in the cookery sense. Gooseberry also meant "a chaperon" (1837) and "a marvelous tale." Old Gooseberry for "the Devil" is recorded from 1796. In euphemistic explanations of reproduction to children, babies sometimes were said to be found under a gooseberry bush.
goosebumps (n.) Look up goosebumps at
also goose-bumps, "peculiar tingling of the skin produced by cold, fear, etc.; the sensation described as 'cold water down the back'" [Farmer], 1859, from goose (n.) + bump (n.). So called because the rough condition of the skin during the sensation resembles the skin of a plucked goose. Earlier in the same sense was goose-flesh (1803) and goose-skin (1761; as goose's skin 1744), and earlier still hen-flesh (early 15c.), translating Latin caro gallinacia.
GOP Look up GOP at
also G.O.P., "U.S. Republican Party," 1884, an abbreviation of Grand Old Party. The Republicans were so called from 1876; the Democratic Party also was referred to occasionally as grand old party, with lower-case letters, in 1870s-80s when the Republicans (formed in 1854) still were considered new and radical. The designation grand old ______ is from about 1850; in Great Britain, Lord Palmerston was known as the Grand Old Man by 1880, and it was abbreviated to G.O.M. by 1882.
gopher (n.) Look up gopher at
burrowing squirrel, 1812, American English, perhaps an Englishing of Louisiana French gaufre "honeycomb, waffle," said to have been used by French settlers in reference to small mammals on analogy of the structure of their burrows, from Old French gaufre, walfre (12c.), which is from Frankish or some other Germanic source. The rodent was the nickname of people from Arkansas (1845) and later Minnesota (1872). The gopherwood tree of the Bible (used by Noah to make the ark, Gen. vi:14) is unrelated; it is from Hebrew gofer, name of a kind of wood now unidentified, perhaps meaning the cypress.
Gordian knot (n.) Look up Gordian knot at
1560s, tied by Gordius (Greek Gordios), first king of Phrygia in Asia Minor and father of Midas, who predicted the one to loosen it would rule Asia. Instead, Alexander the Great cut the Gordian knot with his sword; hence the extended sense (1570s in English) "solve a difficult problem in a quick, dramatic way."
gore (n.2) Look up gore at
"triangular piece of ground," Old English gara "corner, point of land, cape, promontory," from Proto-Germanic *gaizon- (cognates: Old Frisian gare "a gore of cloth; a garment," Dutch geer, German gehre "a wedge, a gore"), from PIE *ghaiso- "a stick, spear" (see gar). The connecting sense is "triangularity." Hence also the senses "front of a skirt" (mid-13c.), and "triangular piece of cloth" (early 14c.). In New England, the word applied to a strip of land left out of any property by an error when tracts are surveyed (1640s).
gore (n.1) Look up gore at
"thick, clotted blood," Old English gor "dirt, dung, filth, shit," a Germanic word (cognates: Middle Dutch goor "filth, mud;" Old Norse gor "cud;" Old High German gor "animal dung"), of uncertain origin. Sense of "clotted blood" (especially shed in battle) developed by 1560s (gore-blood is from 1550s).
gore (v.) Look up gore at
"to pierce, stab," c. 1400, from Middle English gore (n.) "spear," from Old English gar "spear" (see gar, also gore (n.2) "triangular piece of ground"). Related: Gored; goring.
gorge (n.) Look up gorge at
mid-14c., "throat," from Old French gorge "throat; a narrow passage" (12c.), from Late Latin gurges "gullet, throat, jaws," also "gulf, whirlpool," which probably is related to Latin gurgulio "gullet, windpipe," from a reduplicated form of PIE *gwere- (4) "to swallow" (see voracity). Transferred sense of "deep, narrow valley" was in Old French. From 1520s as "what has been swallowed," hence in figurative phrases indicating nauseating disgust.
gorge (v.) Look up gorge at
c. 1300, "eat greedily, swallow by gulps," from Old French gorgier "to swallow" (13c.), from gorge "throat" (see gorge (n.)). Transitive sense from late 15c. Related: Gorged; gorging.