good·​will | \ ˌgu̇d-ˈwil How to pronounce goodwill (audio) \

Definition of goodwill

1a : a kindly feeling of approval and support : benevolent interest or concern people of goodwill
b(1) : the favor or advantage that a business has acquired especially through its brands and its good reputation
(2) : the value of projected earnings increases of a business especially as part of its purchase price
(3) : the excess of the purchase price of a company over its book value which represents the value of goodwill as an intangible asset for accounting purposes
2a : cheerful consent accepted the terms of the contract with goodwill
b : willing effort

Other Words from goodwill

good-willed \ ˌgu̇d-​ˈwild How to pronounce goodwill (audio) \ or less commonly goodwilled adjective

Examples of goodwill in a Sentence

She has goodwill toward all her coworkers. They allowed him to keep the extra money as a gesture of goodwill.
Recent Examples on the Web The duties of Rey Feo are to raise funds for the Rey Feo Scholarship Foundation and to be a goodwill ambassador for the city throughout the year. David Dekunder, San Antonio Express-News, 11 May 2022 In 2015, al-Sabah was named a national goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Refugee Agency. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 Before becoming a special envoy representing UNHCR, Jolie served as a goodwill ambassador for the agency from 2001 to 2012 and has carried out nearly 60 field missions, according to the UN. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, 2 May 2022 Jolie has served as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency and visited refugees from other conflicts elsewhere in the world. Laura King, Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2022 Quietly, Peacock has become Marion’s unofficial goodwill ambassador. Bob Carlton |, al, 28 Apr. 2022 Broadcaster Soledad O’Brien is the group’s goodwill ambassador. Hillary Chura Hohmann, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Apr. 2022 The foundation was named for Don Diego, aka Tom Hernandez, who served as the fair’s goodwill ambassador from 1947-1984. Laura Groch, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Mar. 2022 The United Nations goodwill ambassador is set to chair a study on aging, a joint project of the United States National Institutes of Health and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Sasha Urban, Variety, 2 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'goodwill.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of goodwill

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of goodwill was before the 12th century

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goodwill ambassador

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Last Updated

17 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Goodwill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for goodwill


good·​will | \ ˈgu̇d-ˈwil How to pronounce goodwill (audio) \

Kids Definition of goodwill

: kind feelings or attitude


good·​will | \ ˈgu̇d-ˌwil How to pronounce goodwill (audio) \

Legal Definition of goodwill

1 : an intangible asset that is made up of the favor or prestige which a business has acquired beyond the mere value of what it sells due to the personality or experience of those conducting it, their reputation for skill or dependability, the business's location, or any other circumstance incidental to the business that tends to draw and retain customers
2a : the value of projected increases in the earnings of a business especially as part of its purchase price
b : the excess of the purchase price of a business above the value assigned for tax purposes to its other net assets

Note: The Internal Revenue Code requires the purchaser of a business to allocate the purchase price among the various types of assets. Frequently the purchase price is greater than the sum of the values of the individual assets. The excess is labeled goodwill. Because of its indefinite life, goodwill is not amortizable as an asset. The purchaser will therefore usually try to keep the allocation to goodwill as small as possible.

More from Merriam-Webster on goodwill

Nglish: Translation of goodwill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of goodwill for Arabic Speakers


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