What Does the Phrase “Goody Two Shoes” Mean and Where Did the Saying Originate?

A “goody two-shoes” is an unbearably self-centered little girl and comes from a nursery rhyme, “The History of Little Goody Two-shoes.”

“Goody” was a common nickname for married women and came from the word goodwife.

In the nursery rhyme, Goody owned only one shoe.

When given a pair, she ran around showing them to everyone, even those less fortunate than she, smugly announcing, “Look! Two shoes.”

The phrase came to mean a self-centered brat.

“The History of Little Goody Two-shoes,” inspired by an actual person, was written by Oliver Goldsmith and published in 1765 by John Newberry.

The real Goody’s full name was Margery Meanwell, and she lived in Mouldwell.