Definition of virtue in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvərCHo͞o/


1Behavior showing high moral standards: paragons of virtue
More example sentences
  • He notes that vice is punished and virtue rewarded in most of the director's many babelicious films.
  • There is no vice and virtue, no moral framework to locate the individual within the cosmic infinity of the universe.
  • Some hold that what makes any person fundamentally deserving of good or bad fortune is her level of virtue or moral merit.
goodness, virtuousness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, rectitude, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, worthiness, purity;
principles, ethics
1.1A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person: patience is a virtue
More example sentences
  • This is not a morality based on obedience as a primary virtue, but rather a moral law about how to govern ourselves recognising that we are social individuals.
  • For virtue ethics, the problem concerns the question of which character traits are the virtues.
  • It emphasizes that patience really is a virtue worth cultivating.
strong point, good point, good quality, asset, forte, attribute, strength, talent, feature
1.2A good or useful quality of a thing: Mike was extolling the virtues of the car there’s no virtue in suffering in silence
More example sentences
  • That sparked the Herald writer to extol the virtues of the car.
  • For many years now my bargain-hungry brethren have been extolling the virtues of car boot sales.
  • The priest was summoned to give Paddy a dressing down about some mischief he had been getting into and to extol the virtues and benefits of living a good life.
merit, advantage, benefit, usefulness, strength, efficacy, plus, point
1.3 archaic Virginity or chastity, especially of a woman.
2 (virtues) (In traditional Christian angelology) the seventh highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.
Example sentences
  • It is said that 2 virtues midwived for Eve as she gave birth to Cain.



by (or in) virtue of

Because or as a result of.
Example sentences
  • If they are killed, they are at any rate killed in virtue of what they are doing.
  • We felt kinda out of place here by virtue of not wearing polished shoes, smart pants and a designer shirt.
  • The 64 runs that took him to 103 came by virtue of 14 fours and a six and a six and two singles.
because of, on account of, by dint of, by means of, by way of, via, through, as a result of, as a consequence of, on the strength of, owing to, thanks to, due to, by reason of

make a virtue of

Derive benefit or advantage from submitting to (an unwelcome obligation or unavoidable circumstance).
Example sentences
  • I know it's all just ‘a conspiracy of cartographers’ but why make a virtue of furiously stating the obvious?
  • I'm almost making a virtue of the fact I am a simple person, although at the same time I have a yacht and a convertible Mercedes.
  • ‘Therapy breeds mistrust, treating private life and relationships between people with suspicion, and making a virtue of estrangement’.



Example sentences
  • Unfortunate and virtueless people are unable to hear even the name of the Three Treasures, let alone take refuge in them.
  • The power of the heart, already grown virtueless and thin, distills poisonous clammy vapours which emerge from the head.
  • The architecture of Palladio is wholly virtueless and despicable.


Middle English: from Old French vertu, from Latin virtus 'valor, merit, moral perfection', from vir 'man'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: vir·tue

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