- 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 virtues
Petty, shade, and thirst are my favorite human “virtues” and the trifecta of any good series of “stories.”‘Empire’ Review: Hip-Hop Musical Chairs with an Insane Soap Opera Twist
January 8, 2015
In letters to Theo, Vincent would preach to younger brother the virtues of life.Decoding Vincent Van Gogh’s Tempestuous, Fragile Mind
December 7, 2014
I would just like to see more of a mix, because they both have virtues.James Patterson Goes Full ‘Fahrenheit 451’ With Burning Book Video
November 25, 2014
And the people themselves can do it, abdicating the virtues and responsibilities of citizenship.Valerie Jarrett, Obama Consigliere—and Democracy Killer
November 12, 2014
He would, I thought, be a perfect spokesmen for the virtues of the craft.Up to a Point: In Defense of Lobbyists
P. J. O’Rourke
October 25, 2014
They catalogued Dick's virtues, and then Viviette unfolded her scheme.Viviette
William J. Locke
Around them was a radiance of virtues and graces from the first hour of their meeting.The Dream
And yet the courage of the soldier is the commonest of virtues.The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
The virtues of Virginia sprang from sentiment; those of Belinda from reason.Tales And Novels, Volume 3 (of 10)
The virtues which accompanied him into public life did not desert him in private.Heroes of the Telegraph
- (often capital) the fifth of the nine orders into which the angels are traditionally divided in medieval angelology
- 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 virtues
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].