Red describes the color of something.
Good describes the _____ of something.

What's the most general word that could fit the blank (if there is one)?
Some options I've considered: Goodness (I don't think it can be used this way), Virtue (Too specific)

Edit: The point of the question is that I was wondering if there was a word as specific as good. If not, please say so.

  • 1
    Quality? Your example's a bit vague. I can be a good person, or I can eat a good sandwich. My sandwich is not virtuous, no matter how tasty it is. – VampDuc Feb 22 '16 at 20:08
  • Perhaps merit: Collins (4) " the fact or state of deserving; desert"; Random House (1) " claim to respect and praise; excellence; worth." – Brian Donovan Feb 22 '16 at 20:12
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    Quality? Value? Worth? Condition? Can you give a more specific example, please? – cobaltduck Feb 22 '16 at 20:12
  • @cobaltduck The point of the question is that I was wondering if there was a word that wasn't specific. If not, that's fine. – Tilded Feb 22 '16 at 21:41
  • My point is, the answer will be context-dependent. I can talk about a good child, referring to behavior. But if I ask where are my good shoes, I do not want the well-behaved ones, I want the ones whose that are the least worn down. Continuing the idea, if I say that a song I like is has good melody, I am not judging its condition, but rather its artistic value and ability to please my aesthetics. – cobaltduck Feb 22 '16 at 21:51

"Good" has many meanings, depending both on what kind of thing it is being applied to, and the context (eg, the purpose).

Some possible answers are 'quality', 'virtue', 'skill'. 'kindness', 'appropriateness'. I'm sure there are plenty more.


Technically, you can use "goodness" in that blank. However, if you define it that way, it's a bit of a circular definition ("good" would describe "goodness", hence "good" would describe "the quality of being good"). Perhaps "good describes the benevolence of someone" or "good is the quality of intending to leave a positive impact upon others" would be better?

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