righteous

adjective
righ·​teous | \ ˈrī-chəs How to pronounce righteous (audio) \

Definition of righteous

1 : acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin
2a : morally right or justifiable a righteous decision
b : arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality righteous indignation
3 slang : genuine, excellent

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Other Words from righteous

righteously adverb
righteousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for righteous

moral, ethical, virtuous, righteous, noble mean conforming to a standard of what is right and good. moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong. the basic moral values of a community ethical may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, fairness, or equity. committed to the highest ethical principles virtuous implies moral excellence in character. not a religious person, but virtuous nevertheless righteous stresses guiltlessness or blamelessness and often suggests the sanctimonious. wished to be righteous before God and the world noble implies moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character. had the noblest of reasons for seeking office

Examples of righteous in a Sentence

The mix of Yorkshire-inherited bluntness and a caustic, chirpy South London cynicism (vividly parodied and perhaps too endearingly celebrated in the voice of Dora Chance, narrator of Wise Children) stops her from sounding righteous or dogmatic. — Hermione Lee, Times Literary Supplement, 19 June 1992 I didn't know until long after I was grown that Grandpa Durham—that stern and righteous Baptist—sometimes made persimmon beer and cooled it in the cistern. — Jim W. Corder, Chronicle of a Small Town, 1989 He was foreman at Lyman's North End foundry, the largest stove-making foundry in the city, and had risen in eleven years, despite his lung ailment, from apprentice to moulder to chief grievance spokesman, a voice of righteous reason from below. — William Kennedy, Harper's, March 1988 The Believers tried to lead a simple, righteous life, practicing pacifism and confession of sins and recognizing the equality of all humankind. — Robert P. Emlen, Natural History, September 1987 a righteous man can be trusted to act honorably regardless of the circumstances righteous behavior is its own reward
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Recent Examples on the Web

With the same swiftness that Robin shoots his enemies with arrows, Ludwig shoots down any hint of seriousness or piety that might have crept into the saga of righteous rebels defying the crown. oregonlive.com, "Irreverent spirit lifts Clackamas Rep’s ‘Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood’," 1 July 2019 This fee award confirms that that was a righteous effort. San Diego Union-Tribune, "SoccerCity, SDSU West initiatives cost the city nearly $600,000 in legal fees," 28 June 2019 In the middle of it were former Canadian national team players Kaylyn Kyle and Clare Rustad, who registered their self-righteous disgust with the Americans on the Canadian sports network TSN. Peter Schmuck, baltimoresun.com, "Schmuck: U.S. women's World Cup team sparks debate about sportsmanship that's a few decades too late," 13 June 2019 McSweeney said in a righteous Tweet right after the Legislature adopted an out-of-whack, 1,581-page $40 billion budget package, along with the 362-page infrastructure roadmap. Charles Selle, Lake County News-Sun, "Selle: If state is doling out ‘free’ money, we want our share," 12 June 2019 Nothing else catches us up in such singleness of purpose or gives us so righteous a high. Fred Niedner, Post-Tribune, "D-Day recollections remind us of horrors of war," 7 June 2019 His claim that institutional journalists are inherently compromised is a typically self-righteous, if intriguing, response. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Is There a Right Way to Cover the Trump White House?," 6 June 2019 Collins possesses too much talent and righteous indignation to allow Frannie’s story to fizzle into a poor-girl-of-the-streets fable. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A stunning examination of humanity, race and class," 6 June 2019 As a self-righteous, self-conscious middle schooler, this stung. Tara Gonzalez, Glamour, "The Best Bandeau Bikini in the World Is On Sale Right Now," 23 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'righteous.' 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 righteous

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for righteous

alteration of earlier rightuous, alteration of Middle English rightwise, rightwos, from Old English rihtwīs, from riht, noun, right + wīs wise

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Statistics for righteous

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for righteous

The first known use of righteous was in 1530

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More Definitions for righteous

righteous

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of righteous

formal
: morally good : following religious or moral laws
: caused by something that you believe is not morally right or fair

righteous

adjective
righ·​teous | \ ˈrī-chəs How to pronounce righteous (audio) \

Kids Definition of righteous

1 : doing or being what is just or proper righteous people a righteous action
2 : caused by an insult to what is believed to be just or proper righteous anger

Other Words from righteous

righteously adverb righteously angry

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Comments on righteous

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