Definition of cardinal virtue in US English:

cardinal virtue


  • Each of the chief natural virtues of justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude, as defined by Plato and Aristotle and adopted by the Church Fathers.

    Compare with theological virtues
    • ‘Prudence, temperance, justice, courage - excellence in all four cardinal virtues heightens excellence in married love.’
    • ‘The final cardinal virtue, temperance, involves balance and moderation.’
    • ‘As we saw in the previous talk, the cardinal virtues provide moral strength of character in the workplace but just being ethical isn't enough.’
    • ‘Tolkien's heroes use ancient weapons against evil: they strive for and often exemplify the cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance.’
    • ‘They took him to be endowed in the first place with the four cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, courage and temperance - the virtues that Cicero (following Plato) had begun by singling out in the opening book of De Officiis.’
    • ‘Democracy only works in a culture that has at least mastered the cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude.’
    • ‘John L. Frank said, ‘I remember Ernest once teaching us that the Christian virtue par excellence was not a theological virtue like faith, hope, or charity, nor was it a cardinal virtue like fortitude, temperance, justice, or prudence.’’
    • ‘The moral bedrock lies in four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, courage, and temperance.’
    • ‘A realistic sense of the boundaries of the humanly possible in given situations is not foreign to the classic moral tradition of the West; prudence, after all, is one of the cardinal virtues.’
    • ‘It's easy to convert the seven deadly sins to pop art-but what about the four cardinal virtues outlined in the Book of Wisdom?’
    • ‘As one of the four cardinal virtues of the Middle Ages, prudence was traditionally composed of three parts: memory, intelligence, and foresight.’
    • ‘To walk in the right path one has not to hear the sermons but to see the living examples of cardinal virtues.’
    • ‘One of the author's most helpful analyses is based on the four cardinal virtues of prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance.’
    • ‘That it had a central position in every ethical action he demonstrated by appealing to the cardinal virtues of justice, prudence, self-control, and courage.’
    • ‘Such sacrificial loyalty might appear on the surface to demonstrate a lack of temperance - one of the cardinal virtues.’
    • ‘Plato first formulated the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.’
    • ‘That is the world-wide source that subverts not only the cardinal virtue of justice but prudence, temperance and fortitude as well.’
    • ‘The seven deadly sins and their antitheses, the four cardinal virtues and three heavenly graces, provide the book's organising principle.’
    • ‘During the homily, I noticed that each of the four cardinal virtues was represented by its own clerestory window and that the comfortable pew seat I had chosen faced the most beclouded of them, justice.’
    • ‘The cardinal virtues enable leaders to habitually incorporate moral principles in their behaviour.’


cardinal virtue

/ˈkärdnəl ˈvərCHo͞o/