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From Middle English vertu, from Template:Xno {{ Template:Fro/script |[[vertu#Template:Fro|vertu]]|face=term|lang=fro}}, Template:Frm {{ Template:Frm/script |[[vertu#Template:Frm|vertu]]|face=term|lang=frm}}, from [[virtus#|virtus]] (manliness, bravery, worth, moral excellence), from vir (man); see virile.



Virtue (plural [[~#|~]])
  1. (Articlesobsolete) The inherent power of a god, or other supernatural being. Template:Defdate
  2. The inherent power or efficacy of something (now only in phrases). Template:Defdate
    • 2011, "The autumn of the patriarchs", The Economist, 17 Feb 2011:
      many Egyptians still worry that the Brotherhood, by virtue of discipline and experience, would hold an unfair advantage if elections were held too soon.
  3. (Articlesuncountable) Accordance with moral principles; conformity of behaviour or thought with the strictures of morality; good moral conduct. Template:Defdate
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, Tom Jones, XV.1:
      There are a set of religious, or rather moral, writers, who teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery, in this world.
  4. A particular manifestation of moral excellence in a person; an admirable quality. Template:Defdate
    • 1766, Laurence Sterne, Sermon XLIV:
      Some men are modest, and seem to take pains to hide their virtues; and, from a natural distance and reserve in their tempers, scarce suffer their good qualities to be known [...].
  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. Template:Defdate
    • 1813, John Fleetwood, The Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ:
      The divine virtues of truth and equity are the only bands of friendship, the only supports of society.
  6. An inherently advantageous or excellent quality of something or someone; a favourable point, an advantage. Template:Defdate
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe:
      There were divers other plants, which I had no notion of or understanding about, that might, perhaps, have virtues of their own, which I could not find out.
    • 2011, The Guardian, Letter, 14 Mar 2011
      One virtue of the present coalition government's attack on access to education could be to reopen the questions raised so pertinently by Robinson in the 1960s [...].
  7. A creature embodying divine power, specifically one of the orders of heavenly beings, traditionally ranked above angels and below archangels. Template:Defdate
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book X:
      Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues, Powers; / For in possession such, not only of right, / I call ye, and declare ye now [...].
  8. (Articlesuncountable) Specifically, moral conduct in sexual behaviour, especially of women; chastity. Template:Defdate
    • 1813, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice:
      though she did not suppose Lydia to be deliberately engaging in an elopement without the intention of marriage, she had no difficulty in believing that neither her virtue nor her understanding would preserve her from falling an easy prey.



Derived terms

Related terms

See also


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

External links

cs:virtue cy:virtue de:virtue et:virtue el:virtue es:virtue eo:virtue fr:virtue ko:virtue hy:virtue io:virtue it:virtue kn:virtue ku:virtue lt:virtue li:virtue hu:virtue mg:virtue ml:virtue my:virtue pl:virtue ro:virtue ru:virtue simple:virtue fi:virtue sv:virtue ta:virtue chr:virtue tr:virtue vi:virtue zh:virtue

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