virtue


virtue
virtueless, adj.virtuelessness, n.
/verr"chooh/, n.
1. moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
2. conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
3. chastity; virginity: to lose one's virtue.
4. a particular moral excellence. Cf. cardinal virtues, natural virtue, theological virtue.
5. a good or admirable quality or property: the virtue of knowing one's weaknesses.
6. effective force; power or potency: a charm with the virtue of removing warts.
7. virtues, an order of angels. Cf. angel (def. 1).
8. manly excellence; valor.
9. by or in virtue of, by reason of; because of: to act by virtue of one's legitimate authority.
10. make a virtue of necessity, to make the best of a difficult or unsatisfactory situation.
[1175-1225; alter. (with i < L) of ME vertu < AF, OF < L virtut- (s. of virtus) maleness, worth, virtue, equiv. to vir man (see VIRILE) + -tut- abstract n. suffix]
Syn. 1. See goodness. 2. probity, integrity.
Ant. 1. vice.

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Practical dispositions in conformity with standards of excellence or with principles of practical reason.

The seven cardinal virtues of the Christian tradition include the four "natural," or cardinal, virtues, those inculcated in the old pagan world that spring from the common endowment of humanity, and the three "theological" virtues, those specifically prescribed in Christianity and arising as special gifts from God. The natural virtues are prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice; this enumeration, said to go back to Socrates, is found in Plato and Aristotle. To these St. Paul added the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love
virtues which, in Christian teaching, do not originate naturally in humanity but are instead imparted by God through Christ and then practiced by the believer.

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      in Christianity, any of the seven virtues selected as being fundamental to Christian ethics (moral theology). They consist of the four “natural” virtues, those inculcated in the old pagan world that spring from the common endowment of humanity, and the three “theological” virtues, those specifically prescribed in Christianity and arising as special gifts from God.

      Virtue has been defined as “conformity of life and conduct with the principles of morality.” The virtues are thus the practical attitudes and habits adopted in obedience to those principles. They have been conventionally enumerated as seven because that number is supposed, when combined with its opposite number of seven deadly sins, to cover the whole range of human conduct.

      The natural virtues are sometimes known as the four cardinal virtues (from Latin cardo, “hinge”) because on them all lesser attitudes hinge. They are prudence, temperance, fortitude, and justice. This enumeration is said to go back to Socrates and is certainly to be found in Plato and Aristotle. Late Roman and medieval Christian moralists—such as Ambrose, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas—took over the list as a convenient summary of the teaching of the ancient philosophers and of the highest excellence at which they aimed.

      To these four, Christianity added the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. This classification was taken over directly from the Apostle Paul, who not only distinguished these three as the specifically Christian virtues but singled out love as the chief of the three: “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” According to Christian teaching, the theological virtues do not originate from the natural man. They are imparted by God through Christ and are then practiced by the believer.

      In the Christian ethic, love, or charity, which is omitted from the list of the pagan philosophers, becomes the ruling standard by which all else is to be judged and to which, in the case of a conflict of duties, the prior claim must be yielded.

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Universalium. 2010.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Virtue — • According to its etymology the word virtue (Latin virtus) signifies manliness or courage Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Virtue     Virtue      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Virtue — Vir tue (?; 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. [1913 Webster] Built too strong… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • virtue — [vʉr′cho͞o] n. [ME vertue < OFr vertu, virtue, goodness, power < L virtus, manliness, worth < vir, man: see WEREWOLF] 1. general moral excellence; right action and thinking; goodness or morality 2. a specific moral quality regarded as… …   English World dictionary

  • virtue — (n.) early 13c., moral life and conduct, moral excellence, vertu, from Anglo French and O.Fr. vertu, from L. virtutem (nom. virtus) moral strength, manliness, valor, excellence, worth, from vir man (see VIRILE (Cf. virile)). For my part I honour… …   Etymology dictionary

  • virtue — ► NOUN 1) behaviour showing high moral standards. 2) a morally good or desirable quality. 3) a good or useful quality of a thing. 4) archaic virginity or chastity. ● by virtue of Cf. ↑by virtue of …   English terms dictionary

  • virtue of — ▪ Through the power, force, or efficacy of ▪ Because of ▪ On account of ● virtue …   Useful english dictionary

  • virtue — index caliber (quality), ethics, honesty, honor (good reputation), integrity, merit, probity …   Law dictionary

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  • virtue — 01. Humility is considered an important [virtue] in many Far Eastern cultures. 02. Her religious beliefs have always been the principal force guiding her [virtuous] behavior. 03. It is important for the children to learn the [virtue] of hard work …   Grammatical examples in English


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