What Does Goody Two Shoes Mean?

Goody Two Shoes Meaning

Definition: A person who wants everyone to think that he or she is a good person.

This expression can be used to describe someone who merely acts like a good person, or someone who actually is a good person but who makes others feel inadequate in comparison.

Origin of Goody Two Shoes

This idiom comes from a children’s story called The History of Little Goody Two Shoes, which was published in the year 1765, in England, by an anonymous author. In the story, there is an orphan named Margery Meanwell who has only one shoe.

When someone finally gives her another shoe, she tells everyone that she has two shoes so many times that it becomes her nickname. She always tries to be a good person, and the story has a happy ending.

Over time, the nickname of the main character began to be applied to anyone
who was seen as trying very hard, or too hard, to do good works.

Examples of Goody Two Shoes

Goodie two shoes definitionHere is an example of the idiom being used by a math professor and her student,

Student: I am so sick of Rebecca in our class.

Teacher: Why? What’s the matter?

Student: She’s just such a goody two shoes. She’s always trying so hard to be perfect. She’s too nice.

Teacher: That doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. Let’s get back to studying. Focus on yourself.

Goodie two shoes or goody two shoes definitionIn this example, two friends are discussing whether or not to invite a third friend to a movie they plan to see.

Monica: Let’s invite Rachel.

Janice: Ugh. I don’t think we should.

Monica: Why? She’s so nice! I love hanging out with her.

Janice: She’s too goody two shoes. I feel like she’s always judging me because I’m not as nice as she is.

Monica: You’re being ridiculous. I’m inviting her.

Janice: Fine. Do what you want.

More Examples

In this excerpt, the idiom describes a character in a movie whom everyone thought was too sweet and followed the rules too often.

  • A “Grease” fan has an explanation for the movie’s unlikely love story of a high school bad boy and his goody-two-shoes gal — it was all a dream! New York Post

In the second excerpt, the idiom describes someone who always tried to behave very well.

  • Growing up in Florida in a middle-class home that looked perfect on the outside but in reality was cold and tense, Cheryl was the family goody-two-shoes: great grades, great athlete and certainly no drugs, even though she went to the University of Florida (which has been ranked as one of the Top 10 Party Schools by The Princeton Review). New York Times


The phrase goody two shoes is a negative expression that is used to describe a person who always tries to behave well and do the right thing. It is used to describe someone who tries too hard to be perfect.