noun \ˈvər-(ˌ)chü\

: morally good behavior or character

: a good and moral quality

: the good result that comes from something

Full Definition of VIRTUE

a :  conformity to a standard of right :  morality
b :  a particular moral excellence
plural :  an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
:  a beneficial quality or power of a thing
:  manly strength or courage :  valor
:  a commendable quality or trait :  merit
:  a capacity to act :  potency
:  chastity especially in a woman
vir·tue·less \-(ˌ)chü-ləs\ adjective
by virtue of or in virtue of
:  through the force of :  by authority of

Examples of VIRTUE

  1. <the virtue of wool as a clothing material is that it can provide insulation from the cold even when wet>
  2. <a lady of honor and virtue>
  3. He led me across the concrete floor, through a concrete warehouse, and to the concrete screening room, where he began to extol the virtue and beauty of his eleven-mile-long sewage interceptor. —Frederick Kaufman, Harper's, February 2008

Origin of VIRTUE

Middle English vertu, virtu, from Anglo-French, from Latin virtut-, virtus strength, manliness, virtue, from vir man — more at virile
First Known Use: 13th century


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Practical dispositions in conformity with standards of excellence or with principles of practical reason. The seven cardinal virtues of the Christian tradition include the four “natural,” or cardinal, virtues, those inculcated in the old pagan world that spring from the common endowment of humanity, and the three “theological” virtues, those specifically prescribed in Christianity and arising as special gifts from God. The natural virtues are prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice; this enumeration, said to go back to Socrates, is found in Plato and Aristotle. To these St. Paul added the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love—virtues which, in Christian teaching, do not originate naturally in humanity but are instead imparted by God through Christ and then practiced by the believer.


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