What Does the Phrase “Goody Two Shoes” Mean and Where Did the Saying Originate?

A “goody two-shoes” is an unbearably self-centered little girl and comes from a nursery rhyme, “The History of Little Goody Two-shoes.”

“Goody” was a common nickname for married women and came from the word goodwife.

In the nursery rhyme, Goody owned only one shoe.

When given a pair, she ran around showing them to everyone, even those less fortunate than she, smugly announcing, “Look! Two shoes.”

The phrase came to mean a self-centered brat.

“The History of Little Goody Two-shoes,” inspired by an actual person, was written by Oliver Goldsmith and published in 1765 by John Newberry.

The real Goody’s full name was Margery Meanwell, and she lived in Mouldwell.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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