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 Thank you to all of our honorees and presenters for demonstrating abundantly why University Heights is more than a city of beautiful homes, but a city full of kind-hearted civic-minded virtuous people. cleveland, "Deb Filler’s one-woman show, ‘I Did It My Way In Yiddish’ coming to Beachwood: Press Run," 23 Nov. 2019 Creamy Leek and Kale Gratin This creamy-yet-virtuous gratin of greens from Ivy Manning is crowned with crunchy homemade bread crumbs tossed with nutty-tasting brown butter. oregonlive, "29 Thanksgiving side dish recipes, including 3 must-have green bean casseroles," 20 Nov. 2019 The bet is a long-term wager on a virtuous cycle: more devices in more consumers’ hands means more viewers for Amazon’s original television shows, more subscribers to Amazon Prime, and more developer interest in building tools for Alexa. Matt Day And Mark Gurman / Bloomberg, Time, "Amazon Is Making it Easier to Delete Your Alexa Recordings," 25 Sep. 2019 After decades of congressional budget hearings where Big Bird was cited as the paragon of the virtuous entertainment that only taxpayer-supported public television could provide, the Sesame Workshop moved the show to HBO in 2015. Bryan Greene, Smithsonian, "The Unmistakable Black Roots of ‘Sesame Street’," 7 Nov. 2019 But Tony Sebok, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law, points out that preventing that activity would mean virtuous causes go unfunded. The Economist, "Litigation finance faces ethical quandaries," 7 Nov. 2019 The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina. Houston Chronicle, "Outside the Megaplex: Here are the Houston arthouse movies showing Oct. 25-31," 24 Oct. 2019 The nerds had ascended, culturally and socially, and had become enchanted with their own virtuous self-image. Wired, "It’s Time to Push Tech Forward, and Rebuild What It Broke," 15 Oct. 2019 Other Shakes newcomers include Robert Johnston, who nicely conveys how Duncan’s son Malcolm matures, and Jak Watson, who makes a strong impression as virtuous Macduff. Matthew J. Palm,, "Orlando Shakes’ atmospheric ‘Macbeth’ is a stylish warning to the ambitious | Review," 14 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for virtuous

Last Updated

30 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Virtuous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 11 December 2019.

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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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Comments on virtuous

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heavy with or as if with moisture

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