Safire on "Goody Two-Shoes"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Mon Jun 19 21:05:07 UTC 2006

What do I do about this?  Safire's "On Language" of June 18 claims
"the phrase deriding self-righteousness was based on the heroine of
'The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes,' a 1795 nursery tale often
attributed to Oliver Goldsmith..."

First, OED2 seems to assign 1765 or 1766 to "Goody Two-Shoes", not 1795.

Second, I have the following quotation from 1665, Boston, Mass.: "He
called his mother ... Gammar Two Shooes".  I have no doubt from the
rest of the utterance that the son was deriding his mother's
self-righteousness.  [Jesse, I sent you this by email with the four
early vulgarities in July 2004.]


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