vir·​tue | \ ˈvər-(ˌ)chü How to pronounce virtue (audio) \

Definition of virtue

1a : conformity to a standard of right : morality
b : a particular moral excellence
2 : a beneficial quality or power of a thing
3 : manly strength or courage : valor
4 : a commendable quality or trait : merit
5 : a capacity to act : potency
6 : chastity especially in a woman
7 virtues plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
by virtue of or in virtue of
: through the force of : by authority of

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Other Words from virtue

virtueless \ ˈvər-​(ˌ)chü-​ləs How to pronounce virtueless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of virtue in a Sentence

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 Disinterestedness was the most common term the founders used as a synonym for the classical conception of virtue or self-sacrifice; it better conveyed the threats from interests that virtue seemed increasingly to face in the rapidly commercializing eighteenth century. — Gordon S. Wood, Revolutionary Characters, 2006 It was not only his title that made Poor Richard—and by extension [Benjamin] Franklin—an honorary Frenchman. He may well have devoted a great amount of ink to virtue and order, but he checked those concepts at the door of the beau monde; he made it clear that he was not too good for that world … — Stacy Schiff, A Great Improvisation, 2005 Nerviness is considered a virtue, a good machine, an energy that builds nations, businesses and dynasties. Handed down from generation to generation, like a caustic strand of DNA, it infects the unhappy, the unfortunate and the unlucky, and turns them into desperate strivers, prepared to do anything to realize their ridiculous ambitions. — David Byrne, The New Sins/Los Nuevos Pecados, 2001 Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall … — William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 1605 the virtue of wool as a clothing material is that it can provide insulation from the cold even when wet a lady of honor and virtue
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Recent Examples on the Web Sabine Wren gave the saber to Bo-Katan Kryze, who by virtue of holding the weapon became the new ruler of the Mandalorians. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "The Darksaber Made a Crucial Appearance in The Mandalorian's Season Finale. Here's Its Significance in Star Wars Lore," 28 Dec. 2019 Cincinnati clinched the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by virtue of having the worst record in all of football this year. Tyler Dragon,, "Cincinnati Bengals unbothered by No. 1 pick chatter after Week 16 loss to Miami Dolphins," 24 Dec. 2019 The message is that bitcoin, by virtue of its technical underpinnings, is something that sits outside of our world—a tool for people left out of the system. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Bitcoin's Path From Insurgents’ Talisman to Tool of Big Tech," 22 Dec. 2019 Oakland would win the tiebreaker over Pittsburgh based on strength of victory and Indianapolis by virtue of its win in Week 4. oregonlive, "Oakland Raiders keep slim postseason hopes alive after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers: Recap, score, stats and more," 22 Dec. 2019 While both cities power ahead on the back of strong economic activity, MMR scores higher by virtue of being a traditional financial centre and hosting more companies and industries. Anuj Puri, Quartz India, "In the Delhi versus Mumbai real estate debate, there’s no easy answer," 19 Dec. 2019 If New England slips once and Kansas City wins out, the Chiefs will slide into the second slot by virtue of their 28-22 win at Gillette in Week 14., "Well, not really, but it will feel like the postseason when the Patriots host the Bills Saturday in what has become very rare in the AFC East: a meaningful late-season game.," 17 Dec. 2019 By virtue of winning the USTA National Indoor, Grass and Clay court championships, Guevera clinched the 2019 title as the top 30’s singles and doubles player in the nation. Emmett Hall,, "Lauderdale Tennis Club hosts USTA National 30’s Clay Court Championships," 12 Dec. 2019 But the Ravens have the tiebreaker by virtue of their 37-20 win in Week 9. Jonas Shaffer,, "With Patriots’ loss, Ravens take the lead in race for AFC’s top seed," 2 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'virtue.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of virtue

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for virtue

Middle English vertu, virtu, from Anglo-French, from Latin virtut-, virtus strength, manliness, virtue, from vir man — more at virile

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Time Traveler for virtue

Time Traveler

The first known use of virtue was in the 13th century

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Statistics for virtue

Last Updated

8 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Virtue.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 19 January 2020.

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More Definitions for virtue


How to pronounce virtue (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of virtue

: morally good behavior or character
: a good and moral quality
: the good result that comes from something


vir·​tue | \ ˈvər-chü How to pronounce virtue (audio) \

Kids Definition of virtue

1 : morally good behavior or character We were urged to lead lives of virtue.
2 : a good, moral, or desirable quality Patience is a virtue.
3 : the good result that comes from something I learned the virtue of hard work.
by virtue of
: because of : through the force of She succeeded by virtue of persistence.

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Comments on virtue

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