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I've noticed people use (in speech) the word godness for "feminine god", e.g.:

Oh my godness!

However, in classic texts it is goddess, e.g. Shakespeare's "King Lear":

Hear, nature, hear; dear goddess, hear!
Suspend thy purpose, if thou didst intend
To make this creature fruitful!
Into her womb convey sterility!

It is my understanding that godness can be an urban slang for "divinity", but not for an impersonated deity.

Is godness just a mistake?

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    Where have you "noticed" this? Can you cite a few references? (This is the first I can recall seeing...) – J.R. Oct 25 '12 at 22:03
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    Are you sure it's not a typo, that someone meant to write "Oh my goodness!" I have never seen the usage you show. Could you proved some links to examples? – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Oct 25 '12 at 22:04
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    Related and posted as comment because it is not a reliable source: godness.urbanup.com/2385095 "A term popularized by the song Venus, written by the Shocking Blue. Mariska Veres, the lead singer of the band spoke little English upon the recording of the song, and because of this she pronounced "goddess" as "godness." A godness on a mountain top Was burning like a silver flame, The summit of beauty and love, And Venus was her name. -Venus, by The Shocking Blue" – MetaEd Oct 25 '12 at 22:20
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    @FumbleFingers I never heard the song before, but in this it certainly sounds like godness to me. – StoneyB Oct 25 '12 at 22:59
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    @FumbleFingers no doubt somebody corrected her after the original recording (the video I linked to is probably synched) – StoneyB Oct 26 '12 at 2:43
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  1. Godness is an established (if rather rare) English word, an obsolete ME synonym of godhead reinvented in the 19th century to express ‘divine element or nature’ (OED 1). Google finds this employed in a lot of religious and New-Age spiritual contexts.

  2. Godness is also a surprisingly frequent typo for goodness and, occasionally, goddess, which you may see most readily by Google-booking the word for the 18th century and following the hits.

  3. Urban Dictionary claims that godness is a ‘A term popularized by the song Venus, written by the Shocking Blue. Mariska Veres, the lead singer of the band spoke little English upon the recording of the song, and because of this she pronounced “goddess” as “godness.”’

    A godness on a mountain top
    Was burning like a silver flame,
    The summit of beauty and love,
    And Venus was her name.
    -Venus, by The Shocking Blue

UD, alas, does not tell us what the term means. It's not in other respects the most reliable source, either, but it cannot be dismissed: this account is echoed elsewhere.

So ‘Oh, my godness’ in print is probably (but not certainly) a typo; but if you've actually heard it its meaning may be just what you suggested, divinity. EDIT: Or it may have simply been a slip of the tongue.

This page from Linguee provides several examples; you may decide for yourself (read: guess) which are typos and which legitimate uses.

  • Given the relative obscurity of Godness in modern English, I second the notion that it was either misspoken or misheard. In the use identified by @StoneyB I am more familiar with Godhood as well as the mentioned Godhead. – Sam Jun 3 '14 at 16:55
1

You are probably seeing/hearing the word "goodness." You have most likely heard the common exclamation: "Oh my goodness!" If you saw the word in writing than the writer was probably just accidentally omitted the second "o." The reason why I believe this is because the word "godness" is almost if not entirely obsolete.

  • Sorry, no. As I said, it was in verbal speech. ɑ versus are too different to mix them. – bytebuster Oct 26 '12 at 5:09
  • I most certainly have never heard an exclamation of "Oh my goodness!" before but it is very common to hear "Oh my goodness!" Which is why I still think that is what you may have heard. – cbbcbail Jan 7 '13 at 19:24
  • @cbbcbail, as I understand your comment, it is very common to hear "Oh my goodness!" but you have never heard it as an exclamation. What, then, have you heard it as? – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jan 7 '13 at 20:04
  • @jwpat7 Oh dear, it appears to have auto-corrected to goodness. I am not sure what you mean – cbbcbail Jan 7 '13 at 20:07
  • I mean it is incongruous first to say “I most certainly have never heard an exclamation of "Oh my goodness!" before” and then to say “it is very common to hear "Oh my goodness!"”. – James Waldby - jwpat7 Jan 7 '13 at 20:10

protected by Mari-Lou A Feb 15 '17 at 9:42

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