I have seen the following sentence on a news web site, which was telling about a volcano eruption. A sentence including "a good" surprised me, as I have not seen it used like this. Here is the sentence:

"...You could hear and feel the eruption a good half a mile away, and the closer you got, the more you could feel it..."

What does "a good" mean here? Does it mean "they could hear it well" or does it mean "they could hear it from a distance which was as far as a mile long".


In this sentence, good is an adjective modifying "a half a mile".

The meaning is definition 1d(2) at Merriam-Webster: full

So "a good half a mile" means "a full half a mile", and it's a way of emphasizing that it was definitely half a mile away that you could hear and feel the eruption.

  • I think it's worth pointing out, though, that good in this sense is often used rather informally. For example, I might say, "I saw an accident a good half mile down the road," when it might have only been .46 miles down the road. It's often more like an estimate than a confirmation. – J.R. May 4 '18 at 14:38
  • I think the full OED definition I-11 (a) Used to emphasize that a quantity, number, etc., is at least as great as, and quite probably greater than, stated is more specific to OP's exact context. But sadly, that link is behind a paywall for most users here. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica May 4 '18 at 18:04

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