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

Definition of virtuous

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

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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 No virtuous young lady could be alone with a man to whom she was not related. Andrea Park, Marie Claire, "Is Netflix's 'Bridgerton' Based on a True Story?," 28 Dec. 2020 This premise is a vestige from the City Beautiful Movement of the 1890s, when the middle class believed that erecting European style Beaux Arts monuments would lift the spirits of poor tenement dwellers and somehow inspire them to be more virtuous. Anne Quito, Quartz, "Trump’s last gasp of authoritarianism tries to make US federal buildings classically “beautiful”," 24 Dec. 2020 But while the social media giant is leading us in a seemingly virtuous direction, the reality is quite different. Dipayan Ghosh, Wired, "Nice Try, Facebook. iOS Changes Aren’t Bad for Small Businesses," 24 Dec. 2020 The benevolent fan is one who feels virtuous for being brave enough, cool enough, progressive enough to sublimate themselves to someone inferior. Tressie Mcmillan Cottom, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lizzo, “Body Positivity,” and the Impossible Expectations for Black Women’s Bodies," 17 Dec. 2020 Bing struggled to get this virtuous cycle started, and never really got to the scale that Google enjoys with its search offering. Popular Science, "Could Apple build a search engine that competes with Google?," 15 Dec. 2020 If someone avoids taxes but provides financial support to other institutions or entities that are meaningful to the tax avoider but also produce benefits for society, then the virtuous individual may view this behavior with less disdain. Erin Bass, The Conversation, "Is tax avoidance ethical? Asking for a friend," 30 Oct. 2020 Suddenly, eating in front of your computer has gone from sad to virtuous, and potentially even fun. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "Answers to Every Possible Pandemic-Thanksgiving Question," 23 Nov. 2020 If these everyday experiences suddenly feel weirdly new, then the music is doing its simplest, most virtuous work. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Maybe go stare at a tree and listen to Anna von Hausswolff play the pipe organ," 12 Nov. 2020

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

14 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Virtuous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for virtuous


How to pronounce virtuous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of virtuous

: morally good : having or showing virtue


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

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