[ rahy-chuhs ]
/ ˈraɪ tʃəs /


characterized by uprightness or morality: a righteous observance of the law.
morally right or justifiable: righteous indignation.
acting in an upright, moral way; virtuous: a righteous and godly person.
Slang. absolutely genuine or wonderful: some righteous playing by a jazz great.


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

Origin of righteous

before 900; earlier rightwos, rightwis (remodeled with -ous), Middle English; Old English rihtwīs. See right, wise2
Related forms
Can be confusedright righteous rightful (see usage note at right)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for righteous

British Dictionary definitions for righteous


/ (ˈraɪtʃəs) /


  1. characterized by, proceeding from, or in accordance with accepted standards of morality, justice, or uprightness; virtuousa righteous man
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the)the righteous
morally justifiable or right, esp from one's own point of viewrighteous indignation
Derived Formsrighteously, adverbrighteousness, noun

Word Origin for righteous

Old English rīhtwīs, from right + wise ²
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 righteous



early 16c. alteration of rightwise, from Old English rihtwis, from riht (see right) + wis "wise, way, manner" (see wise (adj.)). Suffix altered by influence of courteous, etc. Meaning "genuine, excellent" is 1942 in jazz slang. Related: Righteously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper