virtue

noun
vir·​tue | \ ˈvər-(ˌ)chü \

Definition of virtue

1a : conformity to a standard of right : morality
b : 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
by virtue of or in virtue of
: through the force of : by authority of

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Other Words from virtue

virtueless \ ˈvər-​(ˌ)chü-​ləs \ adjective

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
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Recent Examples on the Web

There’s nothing more maddening than debating someone who doesn’t know history, doesn’t read books, and frames their myopia as virtue. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lana Del Rey Shuts Down Kanye West for Supporting Trump: "You Need an Intervention as Much as He Does"," 1 Oct. 2018 As if being poor were by itself a kind a virtue that ought to be admired by city people. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Review: Leave No Trace Is a Beautiful Movie About Living on the Fringes," 28 June 2018 His cynical joie de vivre, his puckish smile, his elevation of curiosity as a virtue. Southern Living, "All Southerners Will Appreciate How Anthony Bourdain Spent Atlanta Layovers," 11 June 2018 Her Julie Jordan, the young woman who falls hard for dangerous Billy and stoically suffers all the consequences, is a challenging character to portray in an age that no longer sees wifely forbearance as a female virtue. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "What 'My Fair Lady' and 'Carousel' bring to Broadway that 'Mean Girls' does not," 17 May 2018 Philosophers and theologians for millennia have tied food to moral values, identifying temperance as a virtue and gluttony as a sin. Maria Devlin Mcnair, BostonGlobe.com, "Is your diet a cult?," 7 Apr. 2018 The Flamingo’s elegant abstraction has the virtue of subtly suggesting its namesake creature. Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "Calatrava sculpture on the riverfront: Analysis," 9 May 2018 Still, these policies have the virtue of familiarity. Robert F. Worth, New York Times, "Can Jim Mattis Hold the Line in Trump’s ‘War Cabinet’?," 26 Mar. 2018 The Beethoven Quintet for Piano and Winds had the virtue of abundant charm, an aspect the performers caught perfectly. Peter Dobrin, Philly.com, "Jonathan Biss and friends play for a good cause," 21 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'virtue.' 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 virtue

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for virtue

Middle English vertu, virtu, from Anglo-French, from Latin virtut-, virtus strength, manliness, virtue, from vir man — more at virile

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Statistics for virtue

Last Updated

5 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for virtue

The first known use of virtue was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for virtue

virtue

noun

English Language Learners Definition of virtue

: morally good behavior or character
: a good and moral quality
: the good result that comes from something

virtue

noun
vir·​tue | \ ˈvər-chü \

Kids Definition of virtue

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.

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Comments on virtue

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esteemed in general opinion

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