• synonyms


[rek-ti-tood, -tyood]
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  1. rightness of principle or conduct; moral virtue: the rectitude of her motives.
  2. correctness: rectitude of judgment.
  3. straightness.
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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


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

righteousness, honesty, probity, decency, integrity, morality, virtue, goodness

Examples from the Web for rectitude

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. moral or religious correctness
  2. correctness of judgment
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Word Origin

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper