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

Punishing drivers in the interim is self-righteous grandstanding. Vincent Carroll, The Denver Post, "Carroll: One root cause of the RTD ridership slide — convenience — isn’t going anywhere," 3 Aug. 2019 By 2023, Netflix would be breaking even on FCF, and in 2028, CAF would exceed CAT by $9.6 billion, remaining on the righteous path and hitting $21.2 billion in 2034. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "This Model Shows How Netflix Can Earn its $145 Billion Valuation—Or Blow It," 31 July 2019 But he’s already set the tone, set the pace, set the rules of the game. Instead of distancing themselves from Roy Moore’s anger and judgment and puritanical righteous wrongs, his GOP challengers instead determined to out-Roy Roy. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al.com, "Roy Moore already won," 20 June 2019 The supple, sensational voice of Jennifer Myor takes on two: Hannah Chaplin, mother filled with powers of observation and emotional sensitivity, and Hedda Hopper, vengeful, self-righteous gossip columnist. cleveland.com, "The arts help us honor the past and envision the future: Sun Messages," 6 July 2019 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

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

17 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for righteous

The first known use of righteous was in 1530

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More Definitions for righteous



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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Comments on righteous

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