View synonyms for righteous


[ rahy-chuhs ]


  1. characterized by uprightness or morality:

    a righteous observance of the law.

  2. morally right or justifiable:

    righteous indignation.

  3. acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous:

    a righteous and godly person.

    Synonyms: right, fair, honest, good

    Antonyms: wicked, evil

  4. Slang. absolutely genuine or wonderful:

    some righteous playing by a jazz great.


  1. the righteous, (used with a plural verb) righteous persons collectively.


/ ˈraɪtʃəs /


    1. characterized by, proceeding from, or in accordance with accepted standards of morality, justice, or uprightness; virtuous

      a righteous man

    2. ( as collective noun ; preceded by the )

      the righteous

  1. morally justifiable or right, esp from one's own point of view

    righteous indignation

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Derived Forms

  • ˈrighteously, adverb
  • ˈrighteousness, noun

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Other Words From

  • righteous·ly adverb
  • over·righteous adjective
  • over·righteous·ly adverb
  • over·righteous·ness noun
  • pre·righteous adjective
  • pre·righteous·ly adverb
  • pre·righteous·ness noun
  • quasi-righteous adjective
  • quasi-righteous·ly adverb
  • super·righteous adjective
  • super·righteous·ly adverb
  • super·righteous·ness noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of righteous1

First recorded before 900; earlier rightwos, rightwis (remodeled with -ous ), Middle English; Old English rihtwīs; right, wise 2

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Word History and Origins

Origin of righteous1

Old English rīhtwīs , from right + wise ²

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Example Sentences

Well, those are 50 simple things that you can do to feel self-righteous and none of them are going to save the world.

I do not want to offend another person, nor do I want to offend a righteous and loving God.

The second is social distancing and masking, behaviors now weaponized by the governors of Texas and Mississippi, among others, with the implication that defying public health recommendations represents a righteous statement of freedom.

She thought about how she could be more compassionate — less “self-righteous” — and stop pushing her brother away.

Instead of recasting the Lupin role yet again, creators George Kay and François Uzan dreamed up a righteous present-day outlaw who takes inspiration from the books.

From Time

From righteous fury to faux indignation, everything we got mad about in 2014—and how outrage has taken over our lives.

Perhaps more telling, state media called the attack on the studio “a righteous deed.”

In the Jewish community, Christians who saved Jews from the Holocaust are known as “righteous gentiles.”

As righteous and honest as his anger may be—“They basically just filmed my riffs,” says Meltzer— it is always tinged with hope.

He was “v[ery] hot under the collar ... frustrated and mad, self-righteous.”

Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

These are kept as his law, when obeyed, because of his authority as righteous moral Governor of all.

All the wrong wrought was his, and yet he sat there, calmly eying me, as though he were a righteous judge and I the culprit.

The want of this on the part of the wicked being a curse, the enjoyment of it by the righteous is a privilege.

Surely the righteous shall give thanks (confess) unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.


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More About Righteous

What does righteous mean?

Righteous is an adjective that means virtuous, honorable, or morally right.

Being righteous means doing what is right—obeying the law or adhering to morals. It is often used in a religious context.

Example: It’s not easy to engage in righteous behavior—in fact, if an action is difficult to take, it’s probably right!

Where does righteous come from?

Records of righteous date back to before the 900s. It descends from the Old English word rihtwīs, which was formed from riht, meaning “right,” and wīs, referring to a manner or way of acting (as seen in words like otherwise and clockwise). Eventually, the word was altered with the adjectival suffix -ous.

Simply put, righteous describes someone who does what is right (especially all the time) according to certain laws or morals. The word can be applied to people or their actions, or to things like laws that are considered morally just. (The right in righteous means “just,” “good,” or “correct,” rather than the opposite of “left.”)

Righteous is used frequently in the context of legal or moral judgments and religious matters. The word is often used in phrases like righteous indignation or righteous anger to describe someone showing strong displeasure about some kind of injustice. The common term self-righteous is applied to people who are overly confident in their morality, especially when they criticize others.

Rightful can sometimes be used in the same way as righteous (meaning “in accordance with what is just”), but rightful is more commonly used to mean “having a valid claim” (as in rightful owner).

Righteous is sometimes used as a slang term meaning “excellent,” but this can sound a bit outdated.

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What are some other forms related to righteous?

  • righteousness (noun)
  • righteously (adverb)
  • overrighteous (adjective)
  • unrighteous (adjective)
  • the righteous (noun)
  • self-righteous (adjective)

What are some synonyms for righteous?

What are some words that share a root or word element with righteous

What are some words that often get used in discussing righteous?

What are some words righteous may be commonly confused with?

How is righteous used in real life?

Righteous is used to describe the moral character of a person or the fairness or justness of laws or rules. Because of this, it most often appears in the context of topics like criminal law, religion, and ethics.



Try using righteous!

Which of the following things is a righteous person most likely to do?

A. cheat on a test
B. return a lost wallet to its owner
C. ignore a traffic light
D. rob a bank