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 Peckham channels vivid, white-hot anger into her writing, a sense of righteous fury at the inequities and indignities dealt to women of the past and present. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Hot Stuff: New April romances are escapist and revolutionary," 4 May 2020 Supporters currently dancing in the streets and making some noise for this righteous occupation! Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "SF homeless activists occupy home in Castro, cite Moms4Housing as inspiration," 1 May 2020 The pharmaceutical industry is hoping that success in developing a vaccine will blunt the public’s righteous anger about high drug prices and a wide variety of other high crimes and misdemeanors. Stewart Lyman, STAT, "If pharma helps quench the Covid-19 pandemic, what will it want in return?," 21 Apr. 2020 On this April 20, let’s snag a spot in the drum circle and get a cool buzz going with these righteous stoner movies. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Fire up these stoner movies for 420 Day," 20 Apr. 2020 Stemming panic can be a righteous goal, especially when that panic is unfounded. Roxanne Khamsi, Wired, "Coronavirus Is Bad. Comparing It to the Flu Is Worse," 8 Feb. 2020 What will happen to all the resistance groups, the rallies and marches, and the righteous anger? Lily Herman, Teen Vogue, "Trump Legacy on Courts, Climate Will Hurt the United States for Generations," 6 Feb. 2020 Women are using attire to declare their solidarity, to underscore their righteous outrage, to signify their personal agency. Washington Post, "The women surrounding the Weinstein trial are using their clothes to redefine who has power," 14 Jan. 2020 Wrath, when channelled properly, can be understood as righteous outrage. Carrie Battan, The New Yorker, "The Service That Makes Shame a Productivity Hack," 2 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for righteous

Time Traveler

The first known use of righteous was in 1530

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Statistics for righteous

Last Updated

10 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Righteous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/righteous. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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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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