goodness gracious

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goodness gracious

A mild exclamation of surprise, alarm, dismay, annoyance, or exasperation. Goodness gracious, look at the time! How is it nearly midnight already? Goodness gracious, Bill, would it kill you to take out the trash once in a while? Goodness gracious, that cyclist nearly hit me!
See also: goodness, gracious
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

goodness gracious

Also, good gracious; gracious sakes. Exclamation of surprise, dismay, or alarm, as in Goodness gracious! You've forgotten your ticket. Both goodness and gracious originally alluded to the good (or grace) of God, but these colloquial expressions, which date from the 1700s, are not considered either vulgar or blasphemous.
See also: goodness, gracious
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
At this spectacle Miggs cried 'Gracious!' again, and then 'Goodness gracious!' and then 'Goodness gracious me!' and then, candle in hand, went downstairs as he had done.
"Goodness gracious! It's Zeb--and Jim, too!" he exclaimed.
"Goodness gracious!" aunt Pullet exclaimed, after preluding by an inarticulate scream; "keep her at the door, Sally!
'Goodness gracious!' said Mary, pointing to the garden door which the sulky groom had locked after him.
"Something about a Oh, goodness gracious! Oh, help, help, help, help, help!" The two sisters had bounded on to the settee, and stood there with staring eyes and skirts gathered in, while they filled the whole house with their yells.
"Goodness gracious! I wonder what's up?" she said to Lawrence.