adjective righ·teous \ˈrī-chəs\

: morally good : following religious or moral laws

: caused by something that you believe is not morally right or fair

Full Definition of RIGHTEOUS

:  acting in accord with divine or moral law :  free from guilt or sin
a :  morally right or justifiable <a righteous decision>
b :  arising from an outraged sense of justice or morality <righteous indignation>
slang :  genuine, excellent
righ·teous·ly adverb
righ·teous·ness noun

Examples of RIGHTEOUS

  1. The mix of Yorkshire-inherited bluntness and a caustic, chirpy South London cynicism (vividly parodied and perhaps too endearingly celebrated in the voice of Dora Chance, narrator of Wise Children) stops her from sounding righteous or dogmatic. —Hermione Lee, Times Literary Supplement, 19 June 1992


alteration of earlier rightuous, alteration of Middle English rightwise, rightwos, from Old English rihtwīs, from riht, noun, right + wīs wise
First Known Use: 1530

Synonym Discussion of RIGHTEOUS

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>.

Other Religion (Eastern and Other) Terms

Zen, antinomian, avatar, gnosticism, illuminati, ineffable, karma, koan, mantra
RIGHTEOUS Defined for Kids


adjective righ·teous \ˈrī-chəs\

Definition of RIGHTEOUS for Kids

:  doing or being what is just or proper <righteous people> <a righteous action>
:  caused by an insult to what is believed to be just or proper <righteous anger>
righ·teous·ly adverb <righteously angry>
righ·teous·ness noun


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