This week I was chatting to someone when she used a phase I don’t hear very often and a whole cascade of events took place which I will use as examples in the next couple of blogs.
At a point in the conversation my friend said “Goodness Gracious!” and I was rather taken aback.
It’s not a phrase I hear very often as I chat to clients or do everyday things.
To me, it counts alongside phrases like “Good Heavens” or “By Golly” or “Golly Gosh”.
Almost at the same instant that she spoke, my mind began to play Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren singing: Goodness Gracious Me
So for a couple of seconds I completely lost the connection to the real conversation going on and disappeared into my head space.
As a consequence I lost the next part of the sentence and had to ask her to repeat it when I re-joined her
And I found myself smiling but I couldn’t exactly tell my friend that inside head I was singing along to ‘ bom boddy bom boddy bom boddy bom. Goodness gracious me!”
After our chat my brain started to ponder over what she had said and what had happened
So in this blog I’ll cover what the phrase means and in the next I’ll cover the process as it unfolded in those few seconds
So where does the phrase Goodness Gracious come from?
“Goodness gracious” sounds like a quintessentially old English phrase. Not a contemporary phrase. It’s an interjection an expression of awe, dismay, excitement, mild surprise or shock. “Goodness gracious!”
But joining those two words of goodness and gracious seemed odd.
Goodness is all about being good and gracious is courteous.
However the word goodness is often substituted instead of God
The whole phrase is a shortening of the phrase goodness gracious me which is a mincing of the oath God grace me.
This is because part of the etymology of gracious is ‘filled with God’s grace’ Plus shortening phrases is something typical of English, and has left us with: Goodness gracious, Goodness me and Gracious me.
What an interesting moment and what a great learning. Now I have a completely different understanding of the phrase Goodness Gracious and this has changed my attitude towards it. Who knows I might even take it up as a soft message of surprise.
Oh and in case you haven’t heard it here is a link to Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren singing Goodness Gracious Me !