Definition of righteous in English:



  • 1Morally right or justifiable:

    ‘feelings of righteous indignation about pay and conditions’
    • ‘Your hatred of the poor is just bigotry, sir, however you try to dress it as righteous indignation.’
    • ‘Over the decades, his choice of roles has defined the perception we have of him as a decent, even righteous man of honour.’
    • ‘Your opponent comes out, quivering with righteous indignation, spoiling for a fight.’
    • ‘I hope by now, you are inured to the fact that righteous indignation generates more email than gratitude.’
    • ‘But an opposition leader capable of righteous anger is essential for any democratic legislature.’
    • ‘Please take it as read that I am the last person to think that mere numbers make a cause righteous.’
    • ‘I've shared tears and anger, thoughtfulness and righteous indignation.’
    • ‘Even though we're all flawed, we expect public figures to be morally righteous.’
    • ‘Why are you all of a sudden so righteous about taking one little smoke?’
    • ‘Now picture the reaction of those Pharisees who regarded themselves as holy, righteous, and pure but who looked down on any who didn't live up to their standards of holiness.’
    • ‘Did you know that righteous fury and blind hate are simply two sides of the same coin?’
    • ‘I strove harder to stay awake in church and be more righteous.’
    • ‘Where is there true reward and punishment in a world where so many innocent and righteous suffer while so many evil people seem to enjoy the good life?’
    • ‘He did not state that obedience to the law makes one fully righteous before God in an eschatological sense.’
    • ‘Both offer the spectacle of an aggrieved man reacting with righteous rage.’
    • ‘Today's text focuses on justification and our being made righteous before God.’
    • ‘Abraham and Sarah trusted the same God, and they were declared righteous.’
    • ‘His righteous indignation is quite understandable.’
    • ‘Dualism is a tool of oppressors, fundamentalists and the morally righteous.’
    • ‘Most of us, Dr. Godfrey said, don't even think of ourselves as righteous.’
    good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent, worthy
    justifiable, justified, legitimate, defensible, supportable, just, rightful
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) morally good; virtuous:
      ‘he stood up for what he knew was right and died a righteous person’
      ‘victory in battle was conferred on the righteous’
  • 2US informal Very good; excellent:

    ‘righteous eggs, man!’
    • ‘The self-proclaimed righteous babe is back with her 17th full-length album, and she certainly hasn't run out of ideas.’
    • ‘Evolution may be the personal mission of Ani 2003, but in a broader sense it's more of the same from Buffalo's righteous babe, and that's no slight.’
    • ‘Well, I will say that your muse sounds like a truly righteous babe.’
    • ‘When she plays at folk fest, the most righteous of babes will be playing solo once again.’
    • ‘I've even been fortunate enough to have a few relationships with some righteous babes.’
    1. 2.1 Correctly so called; genuine:
      ‘he is righteous trash’
      • ‘But if you're renting this, you're looking for righteous trash, and Tomcat Angels serves it up something fierce.’
      • ‘In the same book, the authors state that in order for external pathogenic qi to invade the tissue, correct or righteous qi must be weak, as is often the case in elderly or weakened patients.’


Old English rihtwīs, from riht ‘right’ + wīs ‘manner, state, condition’. The change in the ending in the 16th century was due to association with words such as bounteous.