1 : characterized by the quality of being honest and morally correct
2 : piously self-righteous
Did You Know?
Rectitudinous comes to us straight from Late Latin rectitudin-, rectitudo (English added the -ous ending), which itself ultimately derives from the Latin word rectus, meaning both "straight" and "right." (Other rectus descendants in English include rectitude, of course, and rectilinear, rectangle, and rectify.) In one of its earliest known print appearances, in the year 1897, it was used in the phrase "notoriously and unctuously rectitudinous." Although rectitude often expresses an admirable moral integrity, rectitudinous has always had a less flattering side. It can suggest not only moral uprightness but also a displeasing holier-than-thou attitude.
The senatorial candidate's supporters insist that he is possessed of a rectitudinous character and a spotless record.
"In a personal boycott of the Mongol regime, with its prejudicial attitude toward many native-born Chinese scholars, Ni took to living a fugitive's life on houseboat, always on the move, painting soundless little vistas of river and sky, with thin bare trees standing as symbols of his own rectitudinous isolation." — Holland Cotter, The New York Times, 30 Sept. 2010
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