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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web No, this time their righteous indignation is directed at the government, teachers and some pesky teenage girls who just happened to come from the other side of the border. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: They’re kids. Helping them doesn’t take anything away from yours, so don’t frame this as “us v. them”," 2 Apr. 2021 The brilliance of Gotanda’s enduring hit play lies in its ability to convey decades of Asian-American struggle to be seen through the prism of an unlikely friendship, all with righteous anger, heartbreak and abundant humor. Los Angeles Times, "A reading guide on the Asian American experience from Viet Thanh Nguyen, Charles Yu and more," 25 Mar. 2021 Some progressives do not see the Project as righteous. Paige Williams, The New Yorker, "Inside the Lincoln Project’s War Room," 5 Oct. 2020 Self-righteous elites rant about carbon footprints, needless border security, defunding the police, gun control, and charter schools. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Wealthy and Woke," 8 Apr. 2021 Deeply aggrieved, self-righteous, and well-armed, a substantial percentage of these belligerents harbor a far greater commitment to whiteness than to American democracy. Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, The New Republic, "The Unacceptable Costs of Appeasing MAGA Nation," 21 Dec. 2020 Is Surveillance, out April 9th on Get Better Records — the righteous Philly DIY label that has brought us great punk records by bands like Empath, Control Top, and Suzie True — and Don Giovanni Records. Simon Vozick-levinson, Rolling Stone, "Evan Greer Celebrates Trans History With ‘The Tyranny of Either/Or’," 31 Mar. 2021 Although sometimes dense, Winant’s language often feels imbued with a sort of restrained, righteous fury. Scott W. Stern, The New Republic, "A Rust Belt City’s New Working Class," 31 Mar. 2021 Chavez’s main cause — bringing dignity to farmworkers — remains so radical and righteous that to criticize his personal failures is still largely verboten. Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Woke California pays homage this week to another American hero with a complex legacy," 29 Mar. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about righteous

Time Traveler for righteous

Time Traveler

The first known use of righteous was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Statistics for righteous

Last Updated

27 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Righteous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/righteous. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on righteous

What made you want to look up righteous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!