vir·​tu·​ous | \ ˈvər-chə-wəs How to pronounce virtuous (audio) , ˈvərch-wəs \

Essential Meaning of virtuous

: morally good : having or showing virtue a virtuous man/woman virtuous behavior/conduct She felt that she had made a virtuous decision by donating the money to charity.

Full Definition of virtuous

1a : having or exhibiting virtue
b : morally excellent : righteous a virtuous decision
2 : chaste

Other Words from virtuous

virtuously adverb
virtuousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for virtuous

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 virtuous in a Sentence

In a kind of virtuous circle, the "second tier" schools got better as applications rose and they could become choosier in assembling a class—which in turn raised the quality of the whole experience on campus and made the school more attractive to both topflight professors and the next wave of applicants. — Nancy Gibbs et al., Time, 21 Aug. 2006 In its quest to create ice cream as voluptuous as butter and as virtuous as broccoli, the ice cream industry has probed the depths of the Arctic Ocean, studied the intimate structures of algae and foisted numerous failures on the American public. — Julia Moskin, New York Times, 26 July 2006 Children born into high-income households become part of a virtuous circle of success. Parents with university degrees tend to earn more, set higher educational goals for their children, and invest more time in the children's schooling than parents who have a high-school education or less. — Laura D'Andrea Tyson, BusinessWeek, 7 July 2003 We redefined virtue as health. And considering the probable state of our souls, this was not a bad move. By relocating the seat of virtue from the soul to the pecs, the abs and the coronary arteries, we may not have become the most virtuous people on earth, but we surely became the most desperate for grace. We spend $5 billion a year on our health-club memberships, $2 billion on vitamins, nearly $1 billion on home exercise equipment, and $6 billion on sneakers to wear out on our treadmills and StairMasters. — Barbara Ehrenreich, Utne Reader, May/June 1992 She felt that she had made a virtuous decision by donating the money to charity. virtuous behavior is its own reward
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Recent Examples on the Web Trust plays a crucial role in this virtuous cycle, compensating for the fewer opportunities for social status displays and other forms of extrinsic motivation typical of a remote work setting. Caterina Bulgarella, Forbes, 5 Jan. 2022 Visits generated images — digital objects — that were stylish but no more virtuous than the pictures snapped on roller coasters. Washington Post, 8 Dec. 2021 In the interview with Rittenhouse aired Monday night, Carlson emphasized his belief Rittenhouse was a virtuous young man. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 23 Nov. 2021 The venture capital dollars that were once reserved for coastal startups are now fueling the Texas economy and creating a virtuous cycle of winning. Ethan Parker, Forbes, 27 Dec. 2021 Perhaps the Turkish financial system retains enough credibility for the new program to trigger the kind of virtuous cycle the currency needs to stop falling. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, 22 Dec. 2021 In relishing fictional death, the viewer of this series is told he’s doing something virtuous. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 Oct. 2021 Now the American President can boast of an alliance with a genuine coal baron—a nice tribute to the virtuous Greta Thunberg and the crusade against climate change. John R. Macarthur, Harper’s Magazine , 21 Dec. 2021 Fortunately, virtuous cycles happen when power structures are more visible. Michael D'antonio, CNN, 20 Dec. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for virtuous

see virtue

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Time Traveler for virtuous

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The first known use of virtuous was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near virtuous



virtuous circle

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Last Updated

26 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Virtuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for virtuous


vir·​tu·​ous | \ ˈvər-chə-wəs How to pronounce virtuous (audio) \

Kids Definition of virtuous

: morally good : having or showing virtue

Other Words from virtuous

virtuously adverb act virtuously

More from Merriam-Webster on virtuous

Nglish: Translation of virtuous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of virtuous for Arabic Speakers


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