When you hear ‘for good’ without the context you probably think that it means good things because of the word ‘good’. And it’s wrong.
And even if you see it in the sentence it still doesn’t make sense.
The experience almost frightened me away for good.
I remember this expression because of the Scandal, an American TV Series created by Shonda Rhimes.
When the main character Olivia Pope returns from her ‘exile’ she says to one of her team members: “I’m back for good.” And she means ‘finally, permanently’, ‘I’m not gonna leave again’ and not ‘I’m back for good things, for doing good things’.
‘For good’ also could be used not only in a positive context. For instance ‘she left him for good’ means that they broke up and this is her final decision, she’s not gonna get back to him.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the initial sentence was “for good and all”.
It describes the meaning as ”a valid conclusion; hence, as a final act, finally”.
If we go to the Collins dictionary, we’ll see that ‘for good’ appear in the English language since 1708 and it’s quite common nowadays.
For instance, here’s a quote from a British actress June Brown who left popular TV show EastEnders ‘for good’.
“I’ve left for good,” said the 93-year-old who joined the show in 1985, the year it was created.
You can also say that you quit smoking for good.
Okay, that’s it. Now let me know if you’ve heard this expression before and what was your first guess about its meaning? Feel free to share more examples or stories, so we’ll never forget its meaning!
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