god knows

Idioms & Phrases

God knows

Also, goodness knows; heaven knows.

  1. Truly, certainly, definitely, as in God knows I need a winter coat. This expression, which originated about 1300 as God wot, does not necessarily imply that God is all-knowing but merely emphasizes the truth of the statement it accompanies. The variants using goodness and heaven are euphemisms that avoid taking God's name in vain. [Second half of 1500s]

  2. Also, God only knows. Only God knows, that is, neither I nor anyone else knows, as in God knows where I've stored those photos, or God only knows how many people will join the march. [Second half of 1500s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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