noun vir·tue \ˈvər-(ˌ)chü\

: morally good behavior or character

: a good and moral quality

: the good result that comes from something

Full Definition of VIRTUE

a :  conformity to a standard of right :  morality
b :  a particular moral excellence
plural :  an order of angels — see celestial hierarchy
:  a beneficial quality or power of a thing
:  manly strength or courage :  valor
:  a commendable quality or trait :  merit
:  a capacity to act :  potency
:  chastity especially in a woman
vir·tue·less \-(ˌ)chü-ləs\ adjective
by virtue of or in virtue of
:  through the force of :  by authority of

Examples of VIRTUE

  1. He led me across the concrete floor, through a concrete warehouse, and to the concrete screening room, where he began to extol the virtue and beauty of his eleven-mile-long sewage interceptor. —Frederick Kaufman, Harper's, February 2008

Origin of VIRTUE

Middle English vertu, virtu, from Anglo-French, from Latin virtut-, virtus strength, manliness, virtue, from vir man — more at virile
First Known Use: 13th century
VIRTUE Defined for Kids


noun vir·tue \ˈvər-chü\

Definition of VIRTUE for Kids

:  morally good behavior or character <We were urged to lead lives of virtue.>
:  a good, moral, or desirable quality <Patience is a virtue.>
:  the good result that comes from something <I learned the virtue of hard work.>
by virtue of
:  because of :  through the force of <She succeeded by virtue of persistence.>

Word History of VIRTUE

From the Latin word vir, meaning man, the Romans formed the word virtus to describe such so-called manly qualities as firmness of purpose and courage. Gradually this word was used for any good qualities in males or females. The English word virtue came by way of French from Latin virtus.
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