Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


They catalogued Dick's virtues, and then Viviette unfolded her scheme.

Around them was a radiance of virtues and graces from the first hour of their meeting.

And yet the courage of the soldier is the commonest of virtues.

The virtues of Virginia sprang from sentiment; those of Belinda from reason.

The virtues which accompanied him into public life did not desert him in private.

But it may be that I am constitutionally insensible to the virtues of a cocked-hat.

They were, therefore, not only universally prevalent, but were reckoned as virtues.

They were proud of his virtues, and not ashamed of the consequences.

The virtues which leave me in doubt of a woman's love, I can esteem, but that is all.

These virtues he wore modestly and unassumingly as an accustomed garment.


early 13c., "moral life and conduct, moral excellence," vertu, from Anglo-French and Old French vertu, from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "moral strength, manliness, valor, excellence, worth," from vir "man" (see virile).

Phrase by virtue of (early 13c.) preserves alternative Middle English sense of "efficacy." Wyclif Bible has virtue where KJV uses power. The seven cardinal virtues (early 14c.) were divided into the natural (justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude) and the theological (hope, faith, charity). To make a virtue of a necessity (late 14c.) translates Latin facere de necessitate virtutem [Jerome].