[ vur-choo ]
See synonyms for: virtuevirtues on

  1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.

  2. conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.

  1. chastity; virginity: to lose one's virtue.

  2. a particular moral excellence.: Compare cardinal virtues, natural virtue, theological virtue.

  3. a good or admirable quality or property:the virtue of knowing one's weaknesses.

  4. effective force; power or potency: a charm with the virtue of removing warts.

  5. virtues, an order of angels.: Compare angel (def. 1).

  6. manly excellence; valor.

Idioms about virtue

  1. by / in virtue of, by reason of; because of: to act by virtue of one's legitimate authority.

  2. make a virtue of necessity, to make the best of a difficult or unsatisfactory situation.

Origin of virtue

First recorded in 1175–1225; alteration (with i from Latin ) of Middle English vertu, from Anglo-French, Old French from Latin virtūt-, stem of virtūs “maleness, worth, virtue,” equivalent to vir “man” + -tūs, abstract noun suffix; see virile

synonym study For virtue

1. See goodness.

Other words for virtue

Opposites for virtue

Other words from virtue

  • vir·tue·less, adjective
  • vir·tue·less·ness, noun
  • non·vir·tue, noun

Words Nearby virtue Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use virtue in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for virtue


/ (ˈvɜːtjuː, -tʃuː) /

  1. the quality or practice of moral excellence or righteousness

  2. a particular moral excellence: the virtue of tolerance

  1. any of the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) or theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity)

  2. any admirable quality, feature, or trait

  3. chastity, esp in women

  4. archaic an effective, active, or inherent power or force

  5. by virtue of or in virtue of on account of or by reason of

  6. make a virtue of necessity to acquiesce in doing something unpleasant with a show of grace because one must do it in any case

Origin of virtue

C13: vertu, from Old French, from Latin virtūs manliness, courage, from vir man

Derived forms of virtue

  • virtueless, adjective

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with virtue


see by virtue of; make a virtue of necessity.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.