[ rahy-chuhs-nis ]
/ ˈraɪ tʃəs nɪs /
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the quality or state of being righteous.
righteous conduct.
the quality or state of being just or rightful: They came to realize the righteousness of her position on the matter.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of righteousness

before 900; Middle English rightwisnes(se), Old English rihtwīsnes.See righteous, -ness
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does righteousness mean?

Righteousness is the quality of being virtuous, honorable, or morally right. It can also refer to such behavior.

Righteousness is the noun form of the adjective righteous. Being righteous means doing what is right—obeying the law or adhering to morals. Both righteous and righteousness are often used in a religious context.

Example: It’s not easy to follow the path of righteousness—in fact, if an action is difficult to take, it’s probably right!

Where does righteousness come from?

The first records of the word righteousness come from before the 900s. It ultimately derives 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. The suffix -ness makes it a noun.

The right in righteousness means “just,” “good,” or “correct” (rather than the opposite of “left”). Simply put, righteousness involves doing what is right (especially all the time) according to certain laws or morals. Righteousness is used frequently in the context of legal or moral judgments and religious matters. Some religions aim to help followers follow a path of righteousness. The common term self-righteousness refers to an overconfidence in one’s morality, especially when it leads one to criticize others.

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What are some other forms related to righteousness?

What are some synonyms for righteousness?

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

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

How is righteousness used in real life?

Righteousness is most often used in the discussion of 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 religion and ethics.



Try using righteousness!

Which of the following actions is likely to be considered an example of righteousness?

A. cheating on a test
B. returning a lost wallet to its owner
C. ignoring a traffic light
D. robbing a bank

How to use righteousness in a sentence