Dr. Goodword’s Language Blog

What’s the Good Word about ‘Good Word’?

Sorry for the long absence. The Lexiteria has moved its offices to new quarters in the ‘burbs (downtown Smoketown, we like to call it) and, like all my previous moves, it occupied me almost full time. But I’m back again for better or worse. Here goes the first blog from Smoketown Road.

‘Boaz’ recently raised the question of theĀ pedigree of the phrase this website was built on, “the good word”.

In fact, we have thus far been unable to unearth any information on the history of the phrase, “So, what’s the good word?” It was popular back in the 40s and 50s but, like so many other things, it was obliterated by the 60s.

It probably does go back to ‘The Word’ in the biblical sense. But it is now used in the sense of “word of wisdom”, the phrase is a greeting that invites the listener to enlighten the greeter, tell him something he doesn’t know, rather like, “What do you know that I don’t know that would be of use to me?” And, of course, keep it short, as close to one word as you can make it.

This isn’t pure speculation but no more than speculation based on the past and current meanings of the phrase and what we know about human speaking habits. If anyone reading this has any further insights, please share them with “Dr. Goodword”.

One Response to “What’s the Good Word about ‘Good Word’?”

  1. annie Says:

    My dad always greeted a person with “what’s the good word?” He died when I was young so I couldn’t ask him about it, but I learned that he was raised strict Methodist, and I have heard that it was something related to that religion. Don’t know if it is true, but I’d like to know.

Leave a Reply