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Goodwife (Scots: Guidwife), usually abbreviated Goody, was a polite form of address for women, formerly used where "Mrs.", "Miss" and "Ms." would be used today. Its male counterpart is Goodman. However, a woman addressed by this title was of a lesser social rank than a woman addressed as Mistress.

"Goodwife" and "Goody" were used in England, Scotland, and Colonial America, with the earliest known use circa 1325.[1] By the mid-18th century they had become archaic outside Scotland, and they are perhaps best known today as the forms of address used in Arthur Miller's historical fiction The Crucible, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Young Goodman Brown", the novels Magnus by George Mackay Brown and The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.

The term 'Goody Two-Shoes' comes from the book The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, where the main character, addressed as Goody, only has one shoe until someone finally gives her a pair- 'two shoes'.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Goodwife", Oxford England Dictionary.