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

Essential Meaning of righteous

1 : morally good : following religious or moral laws a righteous person leading a righteous life
2 : caused by something that you believe is not morally right or fair righteous anger/indignation

Full 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

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 Each side strives to use journalistic apparatuses to their own advantage, which means that the fight for justice become as much about control of the narrative as a righteous verdict. Washington Post, 6 Jan. 2022 Former President Donald Trump and his supporters have sought to portray her as a righteous martyr who was unjustly killed. Michael Biesecker, baltimoresun.com, 3 Jan. 2022 And also, should this movie be any indication, a righteous two-hour lecture masquerading as a satire. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 24 Dec. 2021 All three companies caught fire quickly and effectively, not only growing at a roughly similar pace, but establishing a righteous toehold both in the Hollywood community and via competitive subscriber numbers. Tom Nunan, Forbes, 22 Dec. 2021 Conservative commentators and politicians have embraced Rittenhouse as a victim of mainstream media bias and a righteous example of the need for self-defense laws. Stacey Barchenger, The Arizona Republic, 20 Dec. 2021 Play probes the complex challenges faced by righteous Gentiles who hid and protected Anne Frank and seven others during the horrors of the Holocaust. Mary Lou Cruz, sun-sentinel.com, 17 Dec. 2021 The biggest pitfall would have been turning what is a melodramatic, operatic minestrone into something too austere, too self-righteous. Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2021 His vocals here are dryer and slyer, with Krauss pulling up the righteous rocking rear. A.d. Amorosi, Variety, 19 Nov. 2021

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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Time Traveler for righteous

Time Traveler

The first known use of righteous was in 1530

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Dictionary Entries Near righteous



right face

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Last Updated

9 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Righteous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/righteous. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for righteous


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

More from Merriam-Webster on righteous

Nglish: Translation of righteous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of righteous for Arabic Speakers


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