Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of virtue
Meaning of virtue by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Alternative forms


    Middle English vertu, from Anglo-Norman vertu, Middle French vertu, from Latin virtus ( “manliness, bravery, worth, moral excellence” ), from vir ( “man” ); see virile .


    • ( UK ) IPA: /ˈvəː.tjuː/, /ˈvəː.tʃuː/


    virtue ( countable and uncountable; plural: virtues )

    1. ( obsolete ) The inherent power of a god, or other supernatural being. [13th-19th c.]
    2. The inherent power or efficacy of something ( now only in phrases ). [from 13th c.]
    3. ( uncountable ) Accordance with moral principles; conformity of behaviour or thought with the strictures of morality; good moral conduct. [from 13th c.]
    4. A particular manifestation of moral excellence in a person; an admirable quality. [from 13th c.]
    5. Specifically, each of several qualities held to be particularly important, including the four cardinal virtues, the three theological virtues, or the seven virtues opposed to the seven deadly sins. [from 14th c.]
    6. An inherently advantageous or excellent quality of something or someone; a favourable point, an advantage. [from 14th c.]
    7. A creature embodying divine power, specifically one of the orders of heavenly beings, traditionally ranked above angels and below archangels. [from 14th c.]
    8. ( uncountable ) Specifically, moral conduct in sexual behaviour, especially of women; chastity. [from 17th c.]


    See also

    External links

    • virtue in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
    • virtue in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Explanation of virtue by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong

    2. a particular moral excellence

    3. morality with respect to sexual relations

    4. any admirable quality or attribute

    Definition of virtue by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Virtue ( ?; 135 ), n. [OE. vertu, F. vertu, L. virtus strength, courage, excellence, virtue, fr. vir a man. See Virile, and cf. Virtu.]
      1. Manly strength or courage; bravery; daring; spirit; valor. [Obs.] Shak.

      Built too strong

      For force or virtue ever to expugn. Chapman.

      2. Active quality or power; capacity or power adequate to the production of a given effect; energy; strength; potency; efficacy; as, “the virtue of a medicine”.

      Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about. Mark v. 30.

      A man was driven to depend for his security against misunderstanding, upon the pure virtue of his syntax. De Quincey.

      The virtue of his midnight agony. Keble.

      3. Energy or influence operating without contact of the material or sensible substance.

      She moves the body which she doth possess,

      Yet no part toucheth, but by virtue's touch. Sir. J. Davies.

      4. Excellence; value; merit; meritoriousness; worth.

      I made virtue of necessity. Chaucer.

      In the Greek poets, . . . the economy of poems is better observed than in Terence, who thought the sole grace and virtue of their fable the sticking in of sentences. B. Jonson.

      5. Specifically, moral excellence; integrity of character; purity of soul; performance of duty.

      Virtue only makes our bliss below. Pope.

      If there's Power above us,

      And that there is all nature cries aloud

      Through all her works, he must delight in virtue. Addison.

      6. A particular moral excellence; as, “the virtue of temperance, of charity, etc”. “The very virtue of compassion.” Shak. “Remember all his virtues.” Addison.

      7. Specifically: Chastity; purity; especially, the chastity of women; virginity.

      H. I believe the girl has virtue.

      M. And if she has, I should be the last man in the world to attempt to corrupt it. Goldsmith.

      8. pl. One of the orders of the celestial hierarchy.

      Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers. Milton.

      Cardinal virtues. See under Cardinal, a. -- In virtue of, or By virtue of, through the force of; by authority of. “He used to travel through Greece by virtue of this fable, which procured him reception in all the towns.” Addison. “This they shall attain, partly in virtue of the promise made by God, and partly in virtue of piety.” Atterbury. -- Theological virtues, the three virtues, faith, hope, and charity. See 1 Cor. xiii. 13.