virtue

noun
vir·​tue | \ ˈvər-(ˌ)chü How to pronounce virtue (audio) \

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 How to pronounce virtueless (audio) \ 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

In fact, even the purported health virtues of traditional kombucha are mostly unsubstantiated by research. Alastair Bland, The Mercury News, "Is boozy kombucha really healthier than beer?," 1 Aug. 2019 By example Edith taught her children the virtues of honor, courage, work and thrift. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Hilde Zadek’s Last Wishes," 26 July 2019 In a poor household, the elder Lovelock not only scrabbled to feed the family, but taught young Jim the virtue of respecting nature and Earth. The Economist, "Cyborgs will save humanity, says James Lovelock," 25 July 2019 Where others are preaching the virtues of a fight, Biden is urging civility. Philip Elliott, Time, "Why Joe Biden's Campaign is Struggling," 25 July 2019 Through her grace, intelligence, and passion for her community and state, Lake epitomized the highest virtues of Miss Hospitality. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Teenage Beauty Queen Who Aspired to Become a Professional Pilot Dies After Crashing Plane," 8 July 2019 Through her grace, intelligence, and passion for her community and state, Lake epitomized the highest virtues of Miss Hospitality. NBC News, "Teenage aspiring pilot and pageant contestant dies in Mississippi plane crash," 8 July 2019 By Rich Cohen Spiegel & Grau, 235 pages, $28 Writers, of course, drool for material this good, but among the virtues of the journalist Rich Cohen is his refusal to let the facts of a sensational story get in the way of the larger narrative. Rinker Buck, WSJ, "‘The Last Pirate of New York’ Review: New York’s Original Gangster," 28 June 2019 To crack the DeLorean enigma Argott and Joyce try to combine the virtues of fiction and nonfiction by resorting to self-reflexivity. Peter Keough, BostonGlobe.com, "In Focus: Back to a future that didn’t go according to plan," 20 June 2019

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

6 Aug 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 How to pronounce virtue (audio) \

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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