[rek-ti-tood, -tyood]


rightness of principle or conduct; moral virtue: the rectitude of her motives.
correctness: rectitude of judgment.

Origin of rectitude

1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French < Late Latin rēctitūdin- (stem of rēctitūdō) straightness, equivalent to Latin rēct(us) right + -tūdin- -tude

Synonyms for rectitude Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for rectitude

Contemporary Examples of rectitude

  • Maybe it is his own reputation for rectitude, a reputation buttressed by the lack of scandals in his administration.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Lousy Economy Won't Sink Obama

    Peter Beinart

    June 6, 2011

  • Hopefully, their rectitude will persist into 2012 and 2013, when deficit reduction will be of growing importance.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Reboot America—Manifesto Support Surges

    The Daily Beast

    July 20, 2010

  • He knew Richardson, his fellow Bay Stater, was a man of rectitude who would never, ever betray his trust with Cox.

    The Daily Beast logo
    How Kennedy Brought Down Nixon

    Chris Matthews

    September 13, 2009

  • I recognize it will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude, and resolve.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Obama's Egypt Address

    The Daily Beast Video

    June 4, 2009

Historical Examples of rectitude

  • We cannot help remarking the danger of the least deviation from the path of rectitude.

  • Doubtless he spoke like this in order that his rectitude might not be called in question.

  • He feels that truth is the “summit of being,” and the soul of rectitude in human affairs.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Through them all she was sustained by the consciousness of her rectitude.


    William Godwin

  • Rectitude, courage and unflinching truth were Holcroft's ideal.

British Dictionary definitions for rectitude



moral or religious correctness
correctness of judgment

Word Origin for rectitude

C15: from Late Latin rectitūdō, from Latin rectus right, straight, from regere to rule
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for rectitude

early 15c., "quality of being straight," from Middle French rectitude (14c.), from Late Latin rectitudinem (nominative rectitudo) "straightness, uprightness," from Latin rectus "straight" (see right (adj.1)). Sense of "upright in conduct or character" is from 1530s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper