Definition of virtue in English:

virtue

Pronunciation /ˈvəːtjuː//ˈvəːtʃuː/

noun

  • 1mass noun Behaviour showing high moral standards.

    ‘paragons of virtue’
    • ‘The man was one of great virtue, and his morals were admired by everyone.’
    • ‘I don't want to demand either that every story show virtue rewarded, or that every story show vice triumphant in our bad world.’
    • ‘And to him a higher standard of virtue would always be applied.’
    • ‘The primary moral virtue associated with beauty is holiness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It forces heroes and heroines to act out of character and rewards vice with virtue.’
    • ‘Some hold that what makes any person fundamentally deserving of good or bad fortune is her level of virtue or moral merit.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In effect you're still rewarding vice, and punishing virtue.’
    • ‘It is by goodness and piety that man reaches perfect happiness: virtue is its own reward.’
    • ‘The human expression of this perfection is virtue, moral and intellectual.’
    • ‘Imagine someone voting for Feingold and then not living up to a Feingoldesque standard of virtue?’
    • ‘Well, read on and decide for yourselves just what standards of journalistic virtue these folks aspire to.’
    • ‘The distinction between freedom and voluntariness is explicit in the discussion of moral virtue by Spinoza, Gilson, and Murdoch.’
    • ‘For Kant, divine goodness is known as a postulate of pure practical reason: God must be there to reward virtue and punish evil.’
    • ‘They established personal standards of piety and virtue that no other group of people since then can match.’
    • ‘It is very difficult to discuss ethical or morals questions such as virtue in a moderate or reasonable way.’
    • ‘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.’
    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
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    1. 1.1count noun A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person.
      ‘patience is a virtue’
      • ‘But I suspect humility is a virtue that we could value more - that and duty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the ancient world, courage, moderation, and justice were prime species of moral virtue.’
      • ‘It's like being very honest about other people's failings, and being honest is a virtue, so I try very hard.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘I can't decide whether this is a personal failing or a virtue, or neither.’
      • ‘Patriotism is a virtue of which any man may well be proud.’
      • ‘I am at a loss as to know whether thrift is still regarded as a virtue, or whether patriotism has taken on new connotations.’
      • ‘It emphasizes that patience really is a virtue worth cultivating.’
      • ‘Suddenly those virtues of steadfastness, commitment and long service as embodied by the Queen appear to be fashionable again.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For virtue ethics, the problem concerns the question of which character traits are the virtues.’
      • ‘But that wouldn't be our Phillip, honesty not being a virtue on which he places much value.’
      • ‘Kindness is an underrated virtue altogether in my humble opinion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To be self-conscious in the most basic sense seems a virtue: to be self-aware.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So when does Pollack and many, many other Americans realize something fundamental about Iraq: honesty is not a virtue.’
      good point, good quality, strong point, strong suit, long suit, asset, forte, attribute, advantage, benefit, strength, talent
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    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’
      • ‘However when asked to elaborate what the real issues were, he declined to comment, and instead extolled the virtues of his new buffalo.’
      • ‘But how many commentaries have you read that actually knowledgeably extol the virtues of this ancient culture?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In poetic words of dazzling imagery, the bards extolled the tribal virtues of honour, courage, generosity, fidelity and revenge.’
      • ‘Ibu Nurul, 25, the mother of a five-year-old boy, extols the virtues of the IUD.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘On my first day of work, he extolled the virtues of the café, and interrogated me about my lunch when I returned.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Mr Derbyshire refers to Bolton street lights being powered by Welsh wind farms, and thereby extols their virtues.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For many years now my bargain-hungry brethren have been extolling the virtues of car boot sales.’
      • ‘That sparked the Herald writer to extol the virtues of the car.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I am sick of the amassed forces of TV punditry extolling the virtues of the Brazilian style of football.’
      merit, advantage, benefit, usefulness, efficacy, efficaciousness, power, potency, force, strength
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    3. 1.3archaic mass noun Virginity or chastity, especially of a woman.
  • 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.’
      • ‘Diana was a non-entity who achieved greatness through marriage, and by virtue of her beauty.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It occupied that place in virtue of a conceptual error.’
      because of, on account of, by reason of, by dint of, by means of, by way of, via, through, as a result of, as a consequence of, on the strength of, owing to, thanks to, due to, based on
      View synonyms
  • make a virtue of

    • Derive benefit or advantage from submitting to (an unwelcome obligation or unavoidable circumstance).

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I know it's all just ‘a conspiracy of cartographers’ but why make a virtue of furiously stating the obvious?’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

virtue

/ˈvəːtjuː//ˈvəːtʃuː/