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

Its investigation will explore whether these online platforms are stifling competition, favoring their own services or threatening the democratic process by virtue of their control over how people get information. Washington Post, "Meet Big Tech’s new foe - a congressman who fought City Hall," 2 July 2019 Early on, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said that if the number of candidates qualifying to debate by virtue of fundraising became too large, the debate would be spread over two nights. Melanie Eversley, Fortune, "What to Know About the 2019 Democratic Debate: Start Time, Schedule, Format," 26 June 2019 By virtue of winning their group on five points (1-2-0), Jamaica advanced to a quarterfinal match at Philadelphia Lincoln Financial Field against either the United States or Panama. , Cincinnati Enquirer,, "FC Cincinnati notebook: Rookie Logan Gdula back in the fold," 26 June 2019 For example, all those folks coming into town for the hoops hoopla effectively drove away other tourists, either by virtue of hotel rooms being booked or just folks who don’t want to deal with crowds that weekend. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "NCAA Final Four: How many people came, and how much did they spend? (And did it beat the Super Bowl?)," 25 June 2019 By virtue of the Anthony Davis trade to Los Angeles and the Mike Conley trade to Utah, both teams are now significantly more dangerous and could immediately threaten the Nuggets in the standings. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Why the Nuggets aren’t “scared” of the Western Conference’s arms race," 22 June 2019 Anything that happens here and now is normalized, not solely through the moral failure of contemporaries but simply by virtue of actually existing. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, "The Unimaginable Reality of American Concentration Camps," 21 June 2019 Holdover nominees who qualified for the ballot by virtue of their vote totals from last year are former Houston Milby and NFL receiver Donald Driver, former Baylor basketball player Sophia Young and former Texas A&M football coach Jackie Sherrill. David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Texans DE J.J. Watt one of 20 nominated for Texas Sports Hall of Fame," 5 June 2019 Simply by virtue of his position, Warren’s voice will carry immense weight. George Schroeder, USA TODAY, "Historic nature of his hiring not lost on new Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren," 4 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

9 Jul 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



English Language Learners Definition of virtue

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


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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