Why do we say my goodness? It doesn't sound appropriate for the contexts in which it is used. Both the my and the goodness don’t seem to bear on a surprising or startling situation. When was it started, and why?
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The Phrase Doctor writes that my goodness is a minced oath:
So the phrase was used instead of swearing, with goodness being a euphemism. The Oxford English Dictionary adds that goodness! has an established meaning in this vein, writing:
The first written usage is by Shakespeare, who wrote:
There isn't a notation about the first written use of my goodness, but it definitely uses the sense of goodness which has been around since the 1600s.
It's a socially acceptable way of saying Oh my god! without offence. It's not just a pun, but also a subtle counter to those who say Oh my god by switching the offensive part to something completely opposite: cursing God (bad) -> goodness
protected by tchrist Jul 2 '14 at 2:29
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