Hypertext Webster Gateway: "virtue"

From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) (web1913)

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.

Built too strong For force or virtue ever to expugn.

2. Active quality or power; capacity or power adequate to the
production of a given effect; energy; strength; potency;
efficacy; as, the virtue of a medicine.

Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue
had gone out of him, turned him about. --Mark v. 30.

A man was driven to depend for his security against
misunderstanding, upon the pure virtue of his
syntax. --De Quincey.

The virtue of his midnight agony. --Keble.

3. Energy or influence operating without contact of the
material or sensible substance.

She moves the body which she doth possess, Yet no
part toucheth, but by virtue's touch. --Sir. J.

4. Excellence; value; merit; meritoriousness; worth.

I made virtue of necessity. --Chaucer.

In the Greek poets, . . . the economy of poems is
better observed than in Terence, who thought the
sole grace and virtue of their fable the sticking in
of sentences. --B. Jonson.

5. Specifically, moral excellence; integrity of character;
purity of soul; performance of duty.

Virtue only makes our bliss below. --Pope.

If there's Power above us, And that there is all
nature cries aloud Through all her works, he must
delight in virtue. --Addison.

6. A particular moral excellence; as, the virtue of
temperance, of charity, etc. ``The very virtue of
compassion.'' --Shak. ``Remember all his virtues.''

7. Specifically: Chastity; purity; especially, the chastity
of women; virginity.

H. I believe the girl has virtue. M. And if she has,
I should be the last man in the world to attempt to
corrupt it. --Goldsmith.

8. pl. One of the orders of the celestial hierarchy.

Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers.

{Cardinal virtues}. See under {Cardinal}, a.

{In}, or {By}, {virtue of}, through the force of; by
authority of. ``He used to travel through Greece by virtue
of this fable, which procured him reception in all the
towns.'' --Addison. ``This they shall attain, partly in
virtue of the promise made by God, and partly in virtue of
piety.'' --Atterbury.

{Theological virtues}, the three virtues, faith, hope, and
charity. See --1 Cor. xiii. 13.

From WordNet (r) 1.7 (wn)

n 1: the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is
wrong [syn: {virtuousness}, {moral excellence}]
2: any admirable quality or attribute; "work of great merit"
[syn: {merit}] [ant: {demerit}]
3: morality with respect to sexual relations [syn: {chastity},
{sexual morality}]
4: a particular moral excellence

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