Good Riddance: Definition, Meaning, And Origin

Last Updated on
June 23, 2023

The phrase "good riddance" conveys a sense of relief or satisfaction that something or someone undesirable or troublesome has left or been removed. It's a cheerful farewell to something or someone that isn't wanted anymore.

In short:

"Good riddance" expresses a feeling of relief or joy when an unwanted person or thing has gone or stopped.

What Does "Good Riddance" Mean?

"Good riddance" is an idiomatic expression that communicates the feeling of relief or satisfaction when a bothersome thing or person is finally gone or has ceased. The phrase suggests that one is glad that something or someone causing annoyance, trouble, or inconvenience has finally been removed or has left.

Let's explore its core meanings and usage:

  • It often conveys a sense of relief from an unwanted, uncomfortable, or distressing situation or person.
  • It can be used to express satisfaction when finally getting rid of something that has been bothering you for some time.
  • Although it can sound harsh, its usage is generally informal and is frequently used in conversation to express relief or freedom from a bothersome entity or situation.

Where Does "Good Riddance" Come From?

One of the earliest known uses of the phrase "good riddance" is in a letter written by Lord Burghley, the Lord Chancellor of England, to his son, Robert Cecil. In the letter, Burghley writes about a troublesome neighbor, saying, "Good riddance to bad rubbish." The use of "good riddance" today originated in William Shakespeare's play "Troilus and Cressida."

Historical Example

"Good riddance of bad rubbish, said I; and if you'll believe me Miss, tears of shame again rolled over her face."

- The Sisters: A Novel, Alicia Moore, 1821

10 Examples of "Good Riddance" in Sentences

Here are some examples of the idiom in use:

  • After deleting all comments from his burner accounts, I thought to myself, good riddance!
  • "I got rid of that annoying neighbor," she said, and I responded, "Glad to hear that; good riddance!"
  • When the disruptive student transferred to another school, the teacher muttered, "good riddance."
  • When her ex-boyfriend moved to another city, she thought to herself, "good riddance."
  • Good riddance to all the negativity that had held her back in the past.
  • I'll keep you posted on my progress, but for now, it's good riddance to this terrible project.
  • When they finally finished the last of the exams, they cheered, "good riddance."
  • Your scornful insult bounced right back at you; good riddance to your petty cruelty.
  • When the noisy neighbors moved out, it was a case of good riddance for everyone on the street.
  • I finally got a new heating system, so it's good riddance to those three dog nights.

Examples of "Good Riddance" in Pop Culture

The phrase "good riddance" often appears in pop culture, typically expressing a sense of relief from an unwanted situation or person.

Let's explore some instances:

  • The song "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day from their album "Nimrod" (1997) uses the phrase to reflect the end of a significant chapter in life.
  • "Good Riddance" is an episode title from the popular sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," where characters express relief over the end of unfavorable relationships.
  • "Good Riddance" is a novel by Elinor Lipman, which explores the ups and downs of life following an unexpected discovery after a relative's death.

Other/Different Ways to Say "Good Riddance"

There are a few alternative expressions that carry a similar meaning to "good riddance."

Here are some of them:

  • Glad to see the back of
  • Don't let the door hit you on the way out
  • Goodbye and good luck
  • No loss

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Good Riddance":

  • What does "good riddance" mean?

"Good riddance" is a phrase that implies relief or satisfaction at being free from an unwanted person or situation.

  • How can I use "good riddance" in a sentence?

You can use "good riddance" to express relief when an unwanted situation or person is gone. For example, "When my annoying roommate finally moved out, I thought to myself, 'good riddance!'"

  • Where does the idiom "good riddance" come from?

The idiom "good riddance" originated from the 18th century, first appearing in William Shakespeare's play "Troilus and Cressida."

  • Is "good riddance" a negative phrase?

It depends on context. While it can sound negative, it is often used to express relief and freedom from something or someone causing distress or annoyance.

  • Can you use it in formal writing?

Although "good riddance" is generally informal, it can be used in formal writing if it fits the context and tone of the piece.

  • Is "good riddance" a universal concept?

Yes, the feeling of relief or satisfaction at being free from an unwanted situation or person, which "good riddance" conveys, is a universal human experience.

  • Does "good riddance" imply bitterness?

Not necessarily. While it can convey a certain level of disdain or annoyance, it's more commonly associated with feelings of relief and liberation.

  • Can you use it to refer to objects?

Yes, you can say "good riddance" about anything that has been bothering you or causing inconvenience, including objects, situations, or habits.

  • Does "good riddance" imply hope for change?

Yes, saying "good riddance" often implies a hopeful outlook towards the future without the discarded person, situation, or object.

  • Do people use "good riddance" only in English?

The phrase "good riddance" is English, but similar expressions exist in other languages that express relief at being free from an undesirable situation or person.

Final Thoughts About "Good Riddance"

The idiom "good riddance" indicates relief at being free from an unwanted situation or person. It carries a sentiment of liberation and perhaps the hope of better experiences in the future. The phrase may seem harsh, but it is often used to express genuine relief and a fresh start.

Here's a quick recap:

  • The term conveys a sense of relief at being free from an annoying or troublesome situation or person.
  • It's often used when one anticipates better circumstances following the removal of the unfavorable element.
  • It's a liberating expression that, while seemingly harsh, can reflect a natural human reaction to getting rid of an unwanted burden.

Despite its directness, "good riddance" is a phrase we can all relate to at some point in our lives. It's a testament to our human capacity to desire positive change and improvements in our lives.

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