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

What ensued was a series of fairly righteous set pieces updating Western clichés with sci-fi gizmos. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Westworld: Ride the Tiger," 6 May 2018 Those events helped radicalize Simone, whose irreproducible arc took her from playing in church to studying at Julliard to jazz clubs and then fame, and whose personal journey ranged from religion to sultry romance to full-throated, righteous rage. The Seattle Times, "Look Ahead: The hottest Seattle events for April 2019," 5 Apr. 2019 This is an ugly moment in America, all right, but there are few things uglier than a righteous leftist mob. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The High School Deplorables," 22 Jan. 2019 The #MeToo movement, driven by righteous rage and demands for dignity, is an opportunity to upgrade the antiquated definition of forgiveness that deprives women of empowerment and healing. Megan Feldman Bettencourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "How Forgiveness Has Been Weaponized Against Women," 25 Sep. 2018 Only a self righteous, narcissist would continue to spout off and not - in the face of Americans’ pain and agony -be contrite and apologize for your part in this catastrophe. Mariah Haas, Fox News, "Debra Messing tells fellow actress Susan Sarandon to 'shut the f--- up' over Trump," 12 Sep. 2018 The biggest irony about this righteous protest targeting this particular film is the pains the makers went to to avoid it. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Read the "Weird" Email Conversation Between Margaret Cho and Tilda Swinton," 17 Dec. 2016 On Friday, Kathleen Breen Combes lit up the stage with sensual, righteous fury; one look and Aurora’s parents quailed with guilt. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston Ballet reawakens ‘Sleeping Beauty’," 12 May 2018 That process may begin with righteous anger, as when Faye’s friends share stories about abusive exes and question gender roles. Eliana Dockterman, Time, "Rachel Cusk on Motherhood, Marriage and the Lived Truths Behind Kudos," 22 May 2018

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

11 May 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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