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  • rectitudinous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \rek-tuh-TOO-duh-nus\
  • DEFINITION

adjective

1
: characterized by the quality of being honest and morally correct
2
: piously self-righteous
  • EXAMPLES

The senatorial candidate's supporters insist that he is possessed of a rectitudinous character and a spotless record.

"Hallie Foote is there, of course, excellent and rectitudinous as ever, playing a recent widow suddenly reconnected with her childhood flame." — From a theater review by Jesse Oxfeld in the New York Observer, September 17, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Rectitudinous" comes to us straight from Late Latin "rectitudin-" (English added the "-ous" ending), which itself ultimately derived from the Latin word "rectus," meaning both "straight" and "right." (There are other "rectus" descendants in English, including "rectitude," of course, and "rectilinear," "rectangle," and "rectify.") When "rectitudinous" first appeared in print in 1897, it was in the phrase "notoriously and unctuously rectitudinous." Although "rectitude" often expresses an admirable moral integrity, "rectitudinous" has always had a less flattering side. It can suggest not only moral uprightness but also a displeasing holier-than-thou attitude.

Test Your Memory: What word completes this sentence from a former Word of the Day piece: "The day after running the article, the newspaper printed a __________ stating that the actress had been born in 1971, not 1871 as indicated"? The answer is …

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