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 The brain-chemical high of self-righteous indignation is a powerful drug and the Trump presidency has left all of us, left and right, outrage addicts. Mary Mcnamara Culture Columnist And Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Column: How do I detox from a four-year Twitter-fed outrage addiction? One Trump-free day at a time," 11 Nov. 2020 Audience members may be drawn to the production by the casting of Bill Murray as Job, the righteous man tested by the loss of his health, home and children, but the real star is the format. Elana Schor And Andrew Welsh-huggins, chicagotribune.com, "Bill Murray to lead actors in online reading of the Book of Job in healing effort," 6 Dec. 2020 According to her analysis, Maverick (Tom Cruise) is the film’s real villain, because his self-righteous exceptionalism repeatedly endangers his partners. Washington Post, "A feminist critiques movies by and about White guys — but why?," 4 Dec. 2020 Then came all sorts of righteous and ritualistic self-regard and fury. Alan Blinder, New York Times, "Confused by the College Football Playoff Rankings? We Can Help," 25 Nov. 2020 In righteous defiance of public health guidelines during a pandemic, some of Bethel’s leadership have mocked mask orders and one prominent member led a Christian music concert that drew large crowds to a Redding bridge. Boone Ashworth, Wired, "Far Cry 5 Helped Me Escape Real Life, Until It Didn’t," 16 Nov. 2020 To deny its validity is both patriotic and righteous. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy’s Afterlife," 10 Nov. 2020 That is why Jonah Goldberg wrote a column in anger (righteous anger). Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Meet the in-laws, &c.," 23 Nov. 2020 In these cases, the righteous indignation over the misalignment between our expectations and the forecasts is often less about the models and more about us. C. Brandon Ogbunu, Wired, "Yes, Accept the Flaws of Election and Epidemic Models," 10 Nov. 2020

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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Statistics for righteous

Last Updated

22 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Righteous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/righteous. Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for righteous


How to pronounce righteous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of righteous

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


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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