Definition of virtue in English:

virtue

Pronunciation /ˈvəːtʃuː/ /ˈvəːtjuː/

noun

  • 1mass noun Behaviour showing high moral standards.

    ‘paragons of virtue’
    • ‘He notes that vice is punished and virtue rewarded in most of the director's many babelicious films.’
    • ‘There is no vice and virtue, no moral framework to locate the individual within the cosmic infinity of the universe.’
    • ‘Some hold that what makes any person fundamentally deserving of good or bad fortune is her level of virtue or moral merit.’
    • ‘The human expression of this perfection is virtue, moral and intellectual.’
    • ‘It is very difficult to discuss ethical or morals questions such as virtue in a moderate or reasonable way.’
    • ‘For Kant, divine goodness is known as a postulate of pure practical reason: God must be there to reward virtue and punish evil.’
    • ‘It is by goodness and piety that man reaches perfect happiness: virtue is its own reward.’
    • ‘In effect you're still rewarding vice, and punishing virtue.’
    • ‘It forces heroes and heroines to act out of character and rewards vice with virtue.’
    • ‘But he kept his religious views a secret, and thus spread good works instead of wasting valuable time and energy on a public performance of moral virtue.’
    • ‘An older sister, Sophie, had died aged six months but throughout Aldiss's childhood she was held up as a paragon of childlike virtue, a moralistic ghost hovering over him.’
    • ‘And to him a higher standard of virtue would always be applied.’
    • ‘The distinction between freedom and voluntariness is explicit in the discussion of moral virtue by Spinoza, Gilson, and Murdoch.’
    • ‘Imagine someone voting for Feingold and then not living up to a Feingoldesque standard of virtue?’
    • ‘The primary moral virtue associated with beauty is holiness.’
    • ‘I don't want to demand either that every story show virtue rewarded, or that every story show vice triumphant in our bad world.’
    • ‘In the Confucian view, the elder brother is meant to enable his younger brothers and sisters to cultivate their virtue by providing a moral example for them.’
    • ‘Well, read on and decide for yourselves just what standards of journalistic virtue these folks aspire to.’
    • ‘The man was one of great virtue, and his morals were admired by everyone.’
    • ‘They established personal standards of piety and virtue that no other group of people since then can match.’
    goodness, virtuousness, righteousness, morality, ethicalness, uprightness, upstandingness, integrity, dignity, rectitude, honesty, honourableness, honourability, honour, incorruptibility, probity, propriety, decency, respectability, nobility, nobility of soul, nobility of spirit, nobleness, worthiness, worth, good, trustworthiness, meritoriousness, irreproachableness, blamelessness, purity, pureness, lack of corruption, merit
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1count noun A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person.
      ‘patience is a virtue’
      • ‘This is not a morality based on obedience as a primary virtue, but rather a moral law about how to govern ourselves recognising that we are social individuals.’
      • ‘For virtue ethics, the problem concerns the question of which character traits are the virtues.’
      • ‘It emphasizes that patience really is a virtue worth cultivating.’
      • ‘But that wouldn't be our Phillip, honesty not being a virtue on which he places much value.’
      • ‘It's like being very honest about other people's failings, and being honest is a virtue, so I try very hard.’
      • ‘Suddenly those virtues of steadfastness, commitment and long service as embodied by the Queen appear to be fashionable again.’
      • ‘Patience was a virtue that we'd have to start drawing upon heavily, but a question I had to ask myself is: why would anyone offer a lift to a complete stranger?’
      • ‘The status of a character trait as a virtue need not be a fixed matter, but a matter complexly interrelated with the sort of society in which it appears.’
      • ‘So when does Pollack and many, many other Americans realize something fundamental about Iraq: honesty is not a virtue.’
      • ‘But I suspect humility is a virtue that we could value more - that and duty.’
      • ‘To be self-conscious in the most basic sense seems a virtue: to be self-aware.’
      • ‘Set in a unified fascistic nation of the future, this satirical sci-fi thriller sees the goodies styled as Nazis and rampant patriotism as a virtue.’
      • ‘Claiming that gay men may not value fidelity is not the same as claiming someone doesn't value a virtue such as courage or honor.’
      • ‘Patriotism is a virtue of which any man may well be proud.’
      • ‘Patience is a virtue and one that is supposed to bear rewards.’
      • ‘But ask him now if honesty is a virtue and he says absolutely.’
      • ‘I can't decide whether this is a personal failing or a virtue, or neither.’
      • ‘I am at a loss as to know whether thrift is still regarded as a virtue, or whether patriotism has taken on new connotations.’
      • ‘Kindness is an underrated virtue altogether in my humble opinion.’
      • ‘In the ancient world, courage, moderation, and justice were prime species of moral virtue.’
      good point, good quality, strong point, strong suit, long suit, asset, forte, attribute, advantage, benefit, strength, talent
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2count noun A good or useful quality of a thing.
      ‘Mike was extolling the virtues of the car’
      mass noun ‘there's no virtue in suffering in silence’
      • ‘That sparked the Herald writer to extol the virtues of the car.’
      • ‘For many years now my bargain-hungry brethren have been extolling the virtues of car boot sales.’
      • ‘The priest was summoned to give Paddy a dressing down about some mischief he had been getting into and to extol the virtues and benefits of living a good life.’
      • ‘How could a man who so clearly extolled the virtues and simplicity of the continental structure in its early days seem so utterly clueless about it?’
      • ‘Mr Derbyshire refers to Bolton street lights being powered by Welsh wind farms, and thereby extols their virtues.’
      • ‘I am sick of the amassed forces of TV punditry extolling the virtues of the Brazilian style of football.’
      • ‘As I said then, it is a virtue of a court system that the court constantly checks its will against a proper view of its limits.’
      • ‘We also welcome Libby Purves to the pages of the magazine. Her first column extols the virtues of joining in - be it World Cup fervour or Jubilee joy.’
      • ‘It may seem wrong to extol the virtues of the English but with such a large Lions touring party, it is always likely to be skewed towards the biggest nation with strength in depth.’
      • ‘Both Sashinka and a friend at work have recently extolled the virtues of a wheat- and dairy-free diet in terms of improved energy levels and weight loss.’
      • ‘He began his programme by extolling the virtues of Swindon, and then moved on to a self-written humorous cry about the misuse of the English language.’
      • ‘Ibu Nurul, 25, the mother of a five-year-old boy, extols the virtues of the IUD.’
      • ‘She is familiar on these shores as a daytime television regular where she extols the virtues of expat life under the Mediterranean sun to more than a million viewers a day.’
      • ‘However when asked to elaborate what the real issues were, he declined to comment, and instead extolled the virtues of his new buffalo.’
      • ‘In poetic words of dazzling imagery, the bards extolled the tribal virtues of honour, courage, generosity, fidelity and revenge.’
      • ‘Great thinkers throughout history have extolled the virtues of doubt.’
      • ‘The survey has been conducted in conjunction with the Daily Telegraph, which has been in the town taking pictures to extol Skipton's virtues.’
      • ‘But how many commentaries have you read that actually knowledgeably extol the virtues of this ancient culture?’
      • ‘On my first day of work, he extolled the virtues of the café, and interrogated me about my lunch when I returned.’
      • ‘He was extolling the virtues of going to the gym every day, and how I ought do it, and he was so happy he was going to live to be 106.’
      merit, advantage, benefit, usefulness, efficacy, efficaciousness, power, potency, force, strength
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3archaic mass noun Virginity or chastity, especially of a woman.
      virginity, honour, maidenhood, maidenhead, chastity, chasteness, purity, pureness, lack of sin, sinlessness, spotlessness, wholesomeness, innocence, decency, virtuousness, respectability, dignity, modesty
      View synonyms
  • 2virtues(in traditional Christian angelology) the seventh-highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.

    ‘It is said that 2 virtues midwived for Eve as she gave birth to Cain.’

Phrases

    by (or in) virtue of
    • Because or as a result of.

      ‘they achieved pre-eminence by virtue of superior military strength’
      ‘in virtue of his position he was impartial’
      • ‘If they are killed, they are at any rate killed in virtue of what they are doing.’
      • ‘We felt kinda out of place here by virtue of not wearing polished shoes, smart pants and a designer shirt.’
      • ‘The 64 runs that took him to 103 came by virtue of 14 fours and a six and a six and two singles.’
      • ‘Diana was a non-entity who achieved greatness through marriage, and by virtue of her beauty.’
      • ‘It occupied that place in virtue of a conceptual error.’
    make a virtue of
    • Derive benefit or advantage from submitting to (an unwelcome obligation or unavoidable circumstance).

      • ‘I know it's all just ‘a conspiracy of cartographers’ but why make a virtue of furiously stating the obvious?’
      • ‘I'm almost making a virtue of the fact I am a simple person, although at the same time I have a yacht and a convertible Mercedes.’
      • ‘‘Therapy breeds mistrust, treating private life and relationships between people with suspicion, and making a virtue of estrangement’.’
      • ‘Indeed, he boasts tirelessly of his resolve and steadfastness, making a virtue of rigidity.’
      • ‘Once this self-evident point has been appreciated, it becomes a matter of making a virtue of necessity.’

Origin

Middle English from Old French vertu, from Latin virtus ‘valour, merit, moral perfection’, from vir ‘man’.

Pronunciation

virtue

/ˈvəːtʃuː/ /ˈvəːtjuː/