Strength of mind in regard to danger; that quality which enables a person to encounter danger with firmness; personal bravery; courage; prowess; intrepidity.
(dated) A brave man; a man of valour.
* vertue (archaic)
(obsolete) The inherent power of a god, or other supernatural being.
The inherent power or efficacy of something (now only in phrases).
* 2011 , "The autumn of the patriarchs", The Economist , 17 Feb 2011:
(uncountable) Accordance with moral principles; conformity of behaviour or thought with the strictures of morality; good moral conduct.
* 1749 , Henry Fielding, Tom Jones , XV.1:
- many Egyptians still worry that the Brotherhood, by virtue of discipline and experience, would hold an unfair advantage if elections were held too soon.
A particular manifestation of moral excellence in a person; an admirable quality.
* 1766 , Laurence Sterne, Sermon XLIV:
- 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.
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.
* 1813 , John Fleetwood, The Life of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ :
- 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 [...].
An inherently advantageous or excellent quality of something or someone; a favourable point, an advantage.
* 1719 , :
- The divine virtues of truth and equity are the only bands of friendship, the only supports of society.
* 2011 , The Guardian , Letter, 14 Mar 2011
- 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.
A creature embodying divine power, specifically one of the orders of heavenly beings, traditionally ranked above angels and below archangels.
* 1667 , John Milton, Paradise Lost , Book X:
- 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 [...].
(uncountable) Specifically, moral conduct in sexual behaviour, especially of women; chastity.
* 1813 , Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice :
- Thrones, Dominations, Princedoms, Virtues , Powers; / For in possession such, not only of right, / I call ye, and declare ye now [...].
- 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.
* (excellence in morals) vice
* make a virtue of necessity
* patience is a virtue
* in virtue of, by virtue of