Definition of righteous in US English:



  • 1(of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous.

    ‘feelings of righteous indignation about pay and conditions’
    ‘he is a good, righteous man, I am sure’
    • ‘Why are you all of a sudden so righteous about taking one little smoke?’
    • ‘Most of us, Dr. Godfrey said, don't even think of ourselves as righteous.’
    • ‘Over the decades, his choice of roles has defined the perception we have of him as a decent, even righteous man of honour.’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘Your opponent comes out, quivering with righteous indignation, spoiling for a fight.’
    • ‘I strove harder to stay awake in church and be more righteous.’
    • ‘Even though we're all flawed, we expect public figures to be morally righteous.’
    • ‘Today's text focuses on justification and our being made righteous before God.’
    • ‘Did you know that righteous fury and blind hate are simply two sides of the same coin?’
    • ‘Abraham and Sarah trusted the same God, and they were declared righteous.’
    • ‘His righteous indignation is quite understandable.’
    • ‘Please take it as read that I am the last person to think that mere numbers make a cause righteous.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Your hatred of the poor is just bigotry, sir, however you try to dress it as righteous indignation.’
    • ‘I've shared tears and anger, thoughtfulness and righteous indignation.’
    • ‘He did not state that obedience to the law makes one fully righteous before God in an eschatological sense.’
    • ‘I hope by now, you are inured to the fact that righteous indignation generates more email than gratitude.’
    • ‘Both offer the spectacle of an aggrieved man reacting with righteous rage.’
    • ‘But an opposition leader capable of righteous anger is essential for any democratic legislature.’
    • ‘Dualism is a tool of oppressors, fundamentalists and the morally righteous.’
    good, virtuous, upright, upstanding, decent, worthy
    justifiable, justified, legitimate, defensible, supportable, just, rightful
    View synonyms
  • 2US informal Very good; excellent.

    ‘righteous bread pudding’
    • ‘The self-proclaimed righteous babe is back with her 17th full-length album, and she certainly hasn't run out of ideas.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When she plays at folk fest, the most righteous of babes will be playing solo once again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I've even been fortunate enough to have a few relationships with some righteous babes.’


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.