Definition of GOODWILL

GOODWILL Noun and (less common and informal) Adjective

Goodwill is primarily known as a noun, representing the positive reputation, trust, and intangible value that a business or individual accrues over time through ethical conduct, quality products or services, and positive relationships with customers, employees, and stakeholders. However, informally, it can also serve as an adjective, describing actions or gestures intended to promote positive relationships or goodwill. It embodies the intangible asset of a favorable reputation and the expectation of continued patronage and support from customers and stakeholders.

GOODWILL as a noun

As a Noun: As a noun, goodwill refers to the favorable reputation and intangible value that a business or individual enjoys within their community or industry. It encompasses the trust, loyalty, and positive perceptions that customers, employees, and stakeholders have towards the entity based on past experiences, interactions, and perceptions of its integrity, reliability, and quality.

GOODWILL as an adjective

Informally used as an adjective, goodwill describes actions or gestures intended to foster positive relationships or goodwill. For example, a “goodwill gesture” may refer to an action undertaken to demonstrate goodwill or a positive attitude towards others, such as offering assistance or extending a friendly greeting.

Business Asset: In the context of business, goodwill is considered an intangible asset that contributes to the overall value and success of a company. It is often included on the balance sheet as part of the company’s total assets, representing the premium that a buyer would be willing to pay for the business above its tangible assets based on its established brand, customer base, reputation, and other factors contributing to its market position and profitability.

Customer Loyalty and Trust: Goodwill is closely associated with customer loyalty and trust, as it reflects the positive experiences and perceptions that customers have towards a business or brand. Companies that prioritize customer satisfaction, quality assurance, and ethical business practices tend to cultivate stronger goodwill among their customer base, leading to repeat business, positive word-of-mouth referrals, and enhanced brand loyalty.

Employee Engagement and Retention: Goodwill also extends to relationships with employees, as companies that prioritize employee well-being, professional development, and a positive work culture tend to foster stronger employee engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty. A workplace characterized by mutual respect, open communication, and opportunities for growth contributes to the cultivation of goodwill among employees, leading to higher morale, productivity, and retention rates.

Community Impact and Corporate Social Responsibility: Beyond its interactions with customers and employees, goodwill encompasses a company’s broader impact on society and the environment. Businesses that demonstrate a commitment to corporate social responsibility, environmental sustainability, and community engagement can enhance their goodwill by aligning their values with those of their stakeholders and contributing to positive social and environmental outcomes.

In conclusion, goodwill represents the favorable reputation, trust, and intangible value that a business or individual accrues through ethical conduct, quality products or services, and positive relationships with customers, employees, and stakeholders. It is a valuable asset that contributes to the success and sustainability of businesses by fostering customer loyalty, employee engagement, and positive community impact. By prioritizing ethical behavior, customer satisfaction, and social responsibility, companies can enhance their goodwill and strengthen their competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Examples of GOODWILL in a sentence

GOODWILL as a noun in a sentence

  • The company’s success was built on a foundation of trust and goodwill with its customers.
  • The neighbors exchanged gifts as a gesture of goodwill during the holiday season.
  • The politician hoped to foster goodwill among constituents by listening to their concerns and addressing them.
  • The merger between the two companies was facilitated by mutual goodwill and shared values.
  • The charity event raised thousands of dollars in donations and garnered widespread goodwill from the community.
  • The negotiators met in a spirit of goodwill, aiming to find common ground and reach a compromise.
  • The organization worked tirelessly to promote peace and goodwill among nations.
  • The goodwill gesture of forgiveness brought closure to the long-standing feud between the families.

GOODWILL as an adjective in a sentence

  • The company’s goodwill ambassador traveled around the world, promoting charitable causes.
  • Her goodwill gesture of offering her seat to the elderly passenger was appreciated by everyone on the bus.
  • The goodwill tour aimed to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries.
  • The organization’s goodwill efforts were recognized with an award for its contributions to the community.
  • The goodwill campaign encouraged people to perform acts of kindness and generosity towards others.
  • The goodwill initiative provided meals for the homeless during the holiday season.
  • The company’s goodwill policies extended to its employees, offering generous benefits and opportunities for advancement.
  • The goodwill donation drive collected clothing and household items for families in need.

Origin of GOODWILL

The term goodwill has a rich etymological background, reflecting its evolution through various languages and cultural contexts.

  • Old English Roots: The word “goodwill” can be traced back to Old English, where it was formed by combining “good,” meaning favorable or beneficial, and “will,” denoting intention or desire. In Old English, “goodwill” conveyed the notion of benevolence, kindness, or a positive attitude towards others.
  • Middle English Usage: As English evolved, the term “goodwill” continued to be used with similar connotations during the Middle English period. It was often associated with acts of charity, generosity, and compassion towards others, reflecting a spirit of goodwill or positive intent.
  • Legal and Economic Concepts: In legal and economic contexts, “goodwill” took on additional meanings, referring to the intangible value of a business or enterprise beyond its tangible assets. This notion emerged in the medieval period and became particularly significant in the field of accounting and business valuation.
  • Contemporary Interpretation: In modern usage, “goodwill” encompasses both its original sense of benevolence and its economic connotations. It refers to a positive attitude or disposition towards others, as well as the reputation, trust, and customer loyalty associated with a business or brand.
  • Cultural Significance: Across cultures, the concept of goodwill holds significant cultural and social importance, emphasizing the virtues of kindness, empathy, and mutual respect. It is often celebrated as a fundamental aspect of harmonious interpersonal relationships and thriving communities.

Through its journey from Old English roots to its contemporary usage in both interpersonal and economic contexts, the term goodwill embodies the enduring value of benevolence, trust, and positive intentions in human interactions and societal institutions.


  • Benevolence
  • Kindness
  • Amity
  • Cordiality
  • Cooperation
  • Friendliness
  • Harmony
  • Generosity


  • Hostility
  • Animosity
  • Enmity
  • Antagonism
  • Mistrust
  • Discord
  • Conflict
  • Rivalry


  • Camaraderie
  • Comradeship
  • Altruism
  • Fellowship
  • Unity
  • Mutual respect
  • Affability
  • Sympathy

🌐 🇬🇧 GOODWILL in other languages

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