Definition of virtue
1a : conformity to a standard of right : moralityb : a particular moral excellence
2 : a beneficial quality or power of a thing
3 : manly strength or courage : valor
4 : a commendable quality or trait : merit
5 : a capacity to act : potency
6 : chastity especially in a woman
7 virtues plural : an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
virtuelessplay \ˈvər-(ˌ)chü-ləs\ adjective
by virtue ofor
in virtue of
: through the force of : by authority of
Examples of virtue in a sentence
He led me across the concrete floor, through a concrete warehouse, and to the concrete screening room, where he began to extol the virtue and beauty of his eleven-mile-long sewage interceptor. —Frederick Kaufman, Harper's, February 2008
Disinterestedness was the most common term the founders used as a synonym for the classical conception of virtue or self-sacrifice; it better conveyed the threats from interests that virtue seemed increasingly to face in the rapidly commercializing eighteenth century. —Gordon S. Wood, Revolutionary Characters, 2006
It was not only his title that made Poor Richard—and by extension [Benjamin] Franklin—an honorary Frenchman. He may well have devoted a great amount of ink to virtue and order, but he checked those concepts at the door of the beau monde; he made it clear that he was not too good for that world … —Stacy Schiff, A Great Improvisation, 2005
Nerviness is considered a virtue, a good machine, an energy that builds nations, businesses and dynasties. Handed down from generation to generation, like a caustic strand of DNA, it infects the unhappy, the unfortunate and the unlucky, and turns them into desperate strivers, prepared to do anything to realize their ridiculous ambitions. —David Byrne, The New Sins/Los Nuevos Pecados, 2001
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall … —William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 1605
the virtue of wool as a clothing material is that it can provide insulation from the cold even when wet
a lady of honor and virtue
Recent Examples of virtue from the web
Where the Brod material remains inaccessible or thin, Mr. Stach has made a virtue of a hindrance by taking in panoramic views of the social and political forces that tethered Kafka’s private neuroses to the public dilemmas of his time.
And the deal’s architects are promising a bevy of virtues for consumers, from more wireless video access to lower prices.
But there’s simply no substitute for this model of lucidity and complexity, the virtues of thinking out loud, and ethical, literary and autobiographical inquiry.
And Democrats sought to seize on the traditional core of Republican campaign messaging: America as a place of virtue, optimism and exceptionalism.
Bill Ogilvie, a dancing acquaintance who is also a Universal Life minister, talked about openness and humility as virtues that bring dancing partners together.
An editorial in The Daily Telegraph, a conservative British newspaper, noted that the virtue of the traditional French croissant was its foreignness.
By virtue of his background—the son of a black man and a white woman, someone who grew up in multiethnic communities around the world—Obama has enjoyed a distinctive vantage point on race relations in America.
Its virtues, in ascending order, Are visual and sonic.
These example sentences are collected from online sources. Help us improve them by sending feedback.
Origin and Etymology of virtue
Middle English vertu, virtu, from Anglo-French, from Latin virtut-, virtus strength, manliness, virtue, from vir man — more at virile
First Known Use: 13th century
VIRTUE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of virtue for English Language Learners
: morally good behavior or character
: a good and moral quality
: the good result that comes from something
VIRTUE Defined for Kids
Definition of virtue for Students
1 : morally good behavior or character We were urged to lead lives of virtue.
2 : a good, moral, or desirable quality Patience is a virtue.
3 : the good result that comes from something I learned the virtue of hard work.
by virtue of
: because of : through the force of She succeeded by virtue of persistence.
History for virtue
From the Latin word vir, meaning “man,” the Romans formed the word virtus to describe such so-called “manly” qualities as firmness of purpose and courage. Gradually this word was used for any good qualities in males or females. The English word virtue came by way of French from Latin virtus.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up virtue? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).