Good Grief! Do You Know What this Idiom Means?

Last Updated on June 25, 2021

The idiomatic phrase “good grief” may be a phrase you see or hear often in everyday conversation and writing. In the paragraphs following below, the definition of this phrase can be found along with the information regarding its origin. You will also see sample conversations and statements to show you how to properly use this phrase as a part of everyday communication and you will discover other ways you can say the phrase while still conveying the same meaning.

Good Grief

Good Grief Meaning

The idiomatic phrase “good grief” is used as an expression to indicate some sort of emotion, generally a negative one, such as alarm, surprise or dismay.

Origin of this idiomatic phrase

The idiom “good grief” began with the origin of the phrase “good God,” which first appeared during the 1600s. The first word used as a replacement created the phrase “good lack,” in which the word “lack” means grief. Since this time the word “God” has been replaced with several different words to make up similar expressions.

The oldest known use of “good grief” most likely occurred sometime between 1898 and 1905 when it was defined in the Oxford English Dictionary, but the earliest known use in writing is in a 1915 article in the magazine Good HousekeepingThis expression has been one used widely since and is commonly beard by children at least once yearly by the animated character Charlie Brown.

“Good Grief” Examples

Example Statements

A statement made by a politician running for office.

  • “Why is it that everywhere I go everyone always asks me the same questions. I have answered all of these questions before! Good grief!”

A statement made by a celebrity during an interview on a podcast when asked about their childhood.

  • Good grief! I can’t remember back that far! Can’t you ask me about something more recent?”

Example Conversations

A conversation between a mother and a daughter.

  • Daughter: Mom, I need money.
  • Mom: For what? I just gave you money Monday for pictures and Tuesday to put on your account for lunch.
  • Daughter: It’s for the field trip next week.
  • Mom: Good grief! Does the school think money grows on trees?

A conversation between two co-workers in the office.

  • Co-worker 1: Well, hey look who it is? Finally decided to show up at work on time slacker?
  • Co-worker 2: What are you talking about, Joe! I have been here every day and haven’t missed a day of work in two years! If you want to call someone a slacker, you should look in the mirror!
  • Co-worker 1: Geez George! Calm down! I was only kidding! Good grief!

Other examples:

  • Good grief! Look the mess in here!
  • Good grief! I forgot my keys again.
  • “He’s been arrested for theft and burglary.” — “Good grief!”.
  • Good grief, Tom. Is that puke on your shoe, or what?

Alternative to “Good Grief”

Alternative ways you can say this phrase include:

  • Good God
  • Good golly
  • Holy moly

Good Grief Meaning | Picture

Good GriefPin


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