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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Fasting aside, Lent also is about praying and giving, two acts of goodwill that can galvanize and unite people even as a pandemic forces them apart. René A. Guzman, San Antonio Express-News, "Catholics face 2021 Lent asking, 'Jesus, haven't we given up enough?'," 10 Feb. 2021 And for Lincoln, the task of gratitude required first and foremost the people’s own recommitment to a spirit of goodwill. Adam J. White, National Review, "This Thanksgiving, Let’s Practice Constitutional Gratitude," 24 Nov. 2020 What better way to generate goodwill with the fan base than to keep that streak of success going? Erick Smith, USA TODAY, "The 10 biggest games in the SEC football schedule for the 2021 season," 28 Jan. 2021 That agreement, like Monday’s, was not a result of corporate goodwill. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "The True Cost of Energy Monopolies," 26 Jan. 2021 After their careers were over, the pair bonded during a goodwill tour to entertain Canadian and U.S. troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 2008. Phil Thompson,, "Chicago Blackhawks players past and present — including ‘the Grim Reaper’ Stu Grimson — are thrilled to resurrect their division rivalry with the Detroit Red Wings," 22 Jan. 2021 In New York, Borda treated her orchestra as frontline cultural emissaries, especially in the way players roved the city’s boroughs in flatbed trucks spreading goodwill. Los Angeles Times, "Commentary: How about some culture in the Biden Cabinet? My nominees for Mr. or Madame Secretary," 18 Jan. 2021 This demonstrates goodwill on the employee’s part, while giving a manager reassurance that the worker can be reached if necessary. Allison Pohle, WSJ, "How to Be More Productive at Work And Manage Your Time Effectively," 15 Jan. 2021 In this way, the agreement is a gesture of political goodwill that is likely to benefit companies in both countries. Annabelle Timsit, Quartz, "Was the investment deal Europe signed with China worth it?," 15 Jan. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of goodwill

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about goodwill

Time Traveler for goodwill

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for goodwill

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Goodwill.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for goodwill



English Language Learners Definition of goodwill

: a kind, helpful, or friendly feeling or attitude
business : the amount of value that a company's good reputation adds to its overall value


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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on goodwill

What made you want to look up goodwill? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!