Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish – Meaning, Origin & Examples

good riddance to bad rubbish meaning and examples, explained below

The idiom “Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish” is used to express relief when an undesirable person or thing is finally gone or removed. It conveys a sense of satisfaction that something troublesome or annoying has been eliminated.

This idiom is often used when someone or something that has caused stress, annoyance, or trouble is finally out of one’s life, and there is a feeling of relief or liberation associated with their departure.

For example, if a problematic employee leaves a company, colleagues might say “Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.”

chrisAbout the Author: has a PhD in Education. He has been a teacher in schools and universities and has taught English as a Second Language in Colombia. He is former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish Idiom Origins

The origin of the phrase “good riddance” can be traced back to the 16th century in England. The earliest known usage is found in a 1602 play titled “Troilus and Cressida” by William Shakespeare:

Thersites: I will see you hanged, like clotpoles, ere I come any more to your tents: I will keep where there is wit stirring and leave the faction of fools.
Patroclus: A good riddance.


Subsequently, a Scottish write Tobias Smollett wrote in 1805, in an obituary no less, the first recorded instance where “bad rubbish” was added to the phrase:

‘We should look upon this author’s departure from the world of literature as a good riddance of bad rubbish.’


Over the centuries, despite the fact “riddance” is rarely used in the English language (with some obvious exceptions, such as the Green Day song) the idiom itself has retained its original meaning and is still used to express relief and satisfaction at the removal of something or someone troublesome or unwanted.

15 Examples in a Sentence

  • “After the troublesome tenant moved out, the landlord muttered, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “When the unpopular policy was finally repealed, many exclaimed, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish!’”
  • “After the final episode of a disappointing TV series, fans declared, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “When the noisy construction project was completed, the neighborhood residents said, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “Upon hearing the news of the dictator’s fall, the citizens shouted, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish!’”
  • “After the departure of a disruptive student, the teacher thought, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “When the irritating noise finally stopped, I sighed, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “After deleting spam emails, I thought to myself, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “When the controversial figure left the public eye, many commented, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “After finishing a difficult project, my team and I exclaimed, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish!’”
  • “When the invasive species was eradicated, the ecologists declared, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “After the end of a stressful exam period, students said, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “When the malfunctioning appliance was finally replaced, I said, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “After the departure of a toxic friend, I felt like saying, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”
  • “When the outdated law was abolished, activists proclaimed, ‘Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.’”

Practice Questions Worksheet for Students

Question 1: If someone says “Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish” when a person leaves, how do they likely feel about that person?

  • a) Fond and affectionate
  • b) Indifferent and uninterested
  • c) Relieved and satisfied
  • d) Sad and regretful

Question 2: Which of the following situations best describes the use of “Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish”?

  • a) Welcoming a new neighbor.
  • b) Celebrating a friend’s achievement.
  • c) Saying farewell to a disliked colleague.
  • d) Greeting a family member.

Question 3: If a law is repealed and people say, “Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish,” what does this imply about the law?

  • a) It was popular and effective.
  • b) It was controversial or disliked.
  • c) It was well-crafted and fair.
  • d) It was universally accepted.

Question 4: In a relationship, if one partner says “Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish” after a breakup, what does it mean?

  • a) They are hopeful for reconciliation.
  • b) They are indifferent to the breakup.
  • c) They are relieved the relationship is over.
  • d) They are deeply saddened by the separation.

Similar Idioms

1. Wash one’s hands of

Definition: To refuse to have anything more to do with someone or something.

In a Sentence: “After years of trying to help him, she finally washed her hands of the relationship.”

2. Kick to the curb

Definition: To discard or reject unceremoniously.

In a Sentence: “The company kicked the outdated software to the curb.”

3. Cast aside

Definition: To discard or abandon.

In a Sentence: “He cast aside his old friends when he became famous.”

4. Throw out with the bathwater

Definition: To discard something valuable along with something undesirable.

In a Sentence: “In reforming the education system, we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

5. Dump

Definition: To discard or end a relationship with someone.

In a Sentence: “She finally dumped her unfaithful boyfriend.”

6. Cut loose

Definition: To release from restraint or inhibition.

In a Sentence: “After the project ended, they cut loose the temporary staff.”

7. Shake off

Definition: To rid oneself of something or someone undesirable.

In a Sentence: “He managed to shake off his bad habits.”

8. Get shot of

Definition: To get rid of someone or something.

In a Sentence: “I need to get shot of this old furniture.”

9. Give someone the boot

Definition: To dismiss someone from a job.

In a Sentence: “The company gave him the boot after the scandal.”

10. Cast off

Definition: To discard or reject.

In a Sentence: “She cast off her old clothes.”

11. Show someone the door

Definition: To ask someone to leave.

In a Sentence: “When he became rude, they showed him the door.”

12. Send packing

Definition: To dismiss someone abruptly.

In a Sentence: “The manager sent him packing after the disagreement.”

13. Drop like a hot potato

Definition: To abandon someone or something hastily.

In a Sentence: “When the scandal broke, his friends dropped him like a hot potato.”

14. Give someone the push

Definition: To end a relationship with someone.

In a Sentence: “She gave him the push after discovering his lies.”

15. Turn one’s back on

Definition: To reject or abandon someone or something.

In a Sentence: “He turned his back on his family when they needed him most.”

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