- moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
- conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
- chastity; virginity: to lose one's virtue.
- a particular moral excellence.Compare cardinal virtues, natural virtue, theological virtue.
- a good or admirable quality or property: the virtue of knowing one's weaknesses.
- effective force; power or potency: a charm with the virtue of removing warts.
- virtues, an order of angels.Compare angel(def 1).
- manly excellence; valor.
- by/in virtue of, by reason of; because of: to act by virtue of one's legitimate authority.
- make a virtue of necessity, to make the best of a difficult or unsatisfactory situation.
Origin of virtue
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for virtue
By virtue of being readers we are also writers, I now believe, but that was not always the case.Book Bag: Overlooked Classic Books From the Sunshine State
Randy Wayne White
September 30, 2014
But the military can mitigate the risks simply by virtue of its enormous logistical reach.The Military’s Mission to Fight Ebola Might Be Dangerous But it Won’t Be Black Hawk Down
Nathan Bradley Bethea
September 19, 2014
Paragon of virtue Oliver North called for charges to be filed against Warner Brothers Music.A Brief History of the Phrase 'F*ck the Police'
August 23, 2014
He saw no virtue in stubbornness, and he could never have taken pleasure in the refusal to act on something.Washington Is Sorely Missing the Legislative Genius of Howard Baker
James Andrew Miller
June 28, 2014
“Claiming that moderation in a time of such crisis is no virtue,” the martyr of American Russian studies declared.Meet the Anti-Semites, Truthers, and Alaska Pol at D.C.’s Pro-Putin Soiree
June 17, 2014
Let young men hear the praise of virtue from the lips of beauty.
I asked him what reward the Helots had for bravery or virtue.
Who, that has once trespassed with them, ever recovered his virtue?
She made a virtue of necessity; and the man was quite another man with her. '
It is their virtue in life to be lonely, and none but the lonely man in tragedy may be great.Riders to the Sea
J. M. Synge
- the quality or practice of moral excellence or righteousness
- a particular moral excellencethe virtue of tolerance
- any of the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) or theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity)
- any admirable quality, feature, or trait
- chastity, esp in women
- archaic an effective, active, or inherent power or force
- by virtue of or in virtue of on account of or by reason of
- make a virtue of necessity to acquiesce in doing something unpleasant with a show of grace because one must do it in any case
Word Origin and History for virtue
early 13c., "moral life and conduct, moral excellence," vertu, from Anglo-French and Old French vertu, from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "moral strength, manliness, valor, excellence, worth," from vir "man" (see virile).
For my part I honour with the name of virtue the habit of acting in a way troublesome to oneself and useful to others. [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
Phrase by virtue of (early 13c.) preserves alternative Middle English sense of "efficacy." Wyclif Bible has virtue where KJV uses power. The seven cardinal virtues (early 14c.) were divided into the natural (justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude) and the theological (hope, faith, charity). To make a virtue of a necessity (late 14c.) translates Latin facere de necessitate virtutem [Jerome].