Generally, when somebody asks how you're doing, you would say

"I'm well, thank you."

However, can you describe a noun and using the word "good", followed with a verb (without using "well")? For example,

The table was goodly crafted

Also, what are some other ways you can use the word "goodly"? Seeing the dictionary definition, it seems that it is used to describe size, although it is rare that I see "goodly" in context.

  • You asked for a noun, but goodly is an adjective. Some people with good English object to the expression "I'm good" (I am all set) because they hear it as a mistake for I'm well (my health is solid.), which it is not. To do some good is an expression for a kind deed or charity. Again, it is distinct from 'To do well on the test'. Closer to what you are looking for: The table is good and done (quite complete), good and plenty (generous amounts), good and tired from the day (exhausted from a hard day). Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 0:52

3 Answers 3


No, you cannot say that. Goodly does not mean well.

The only non-obsolete sense remaining is as an adjective meaning considerable, as in a goodly amount. It’s still not a common word.


To defer to Oxford English Dictionary's authority means acknowledging an adverbial meaning that would directly apply to the OP's example sentence; A definition which is marked neither obsolete nor archaic.

adv. 2 a. In a good, noble, or valiant manner; (more generally) excellently, well.

Ex: 1992 D. A. Willson REMF Returns 43 How's old Long Binh been treating me? Not badly and not goodly.

The phrase is certainly uncommon, but I would disagree with the sentiment that "you cannot say that" given historical context. Instead, I argue that you should only use the term with a thorough awareness of its rare use and with the knowledge that it may take readers or listeners by surprise.

  • On the other hand, Merriam-Webster says goodly is only an adjective, meaning either attractive or considerable. So take your pick.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 15, 2021 at 15:16

You can use it if you want to - English has no person or group that dictates what is "correct" and what is not. Common usage dictates what goes into most dictionaries, but because a word a phrase is not in a dictionary doesn't mean you can't use it. English has no unbreakable rules. Just realize that "goodly" is not a commonly used word, and the meaning you may give it might not be what the listener might interpret.

  • This would benefit from addressing the second part of the question as well, and citing a source is always welcome.
    – livresque
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 23:15

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