Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Morally upright; without guilt or sin.
  • adjective In accordance with virtue or morality: synonym: moral.
  • noun Righteous people considered as a group.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make righteous; justify.
  • Upright; incorrupt; virtuous; conforming in character and conduct to a right standard; free from guilt or sin; obedient to the moral or divine law.
  • In accordance with right; authorized by moral or divine law; just and good; right; worthy.
  • Proper; fitting: as, righteous indignation.
  • Synonyms Righteous, Rightful. Upright, Just; honest, equitable, fair; godly, holy, saintly. The first three of the italicized words go back directly to the first principles of right, while just, though expressing quite as much conformity to right, suggests more of the intricate questions arising out of the relations of men. Upright gets force from the idea of physical perpendicularity, a standing up straight by the standard of right; righteous carries up the idea of right to the standards, motives, and sanctions of religion; rightful applies not to conduct, but to claims by right: as, he is the rightful owner of the land; just suggests by derivation a written law, but presumes that the law is a right one, or that there is above if, and if necessary overruling it, a law of God. This last is the uniform Biblical usage. Just generally implies the exercise of some power or authority. See justice and honesty.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Doing, or according with, that which is right; yielding to all their due; just; equitable; especially, free from wrong, guilt, or sin; holy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective free from sin or guilt
  • adjective moral and virtuous, suggesting sanctimonious
  • adjective justified morally
  • adjective slang, US awesome
  • verb To make righteous; specifically, to justify religiously, to absolve from sin.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective characterized by or proceeding from accepted standards of morality or justice
  • adjective morally justified

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ryghtuous, alteration of rihtwise, from Old English rihtwīs : riht, right; see right + -wīse, -wise.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From earlier rightuous, rightwose, rightwos, rightwise, from Middle English rightwise, rightwis, from Old English rihtwīs ("righteous, just, right, justifiable"), corresponding to right +‎ -wise (with assimilation of second element to -ous), or to right +‎ wise (“way, manner”). Cognate with Scots richtwis ("righteous"), Old High German rehtwīsic ("righteous, just"), Icelandic réttvíss ("righteous, just"). Compare also thefteous, mighteous.

Examples

  • Although Adam was created in the image of his Maker in respect to being endowed with powers of {13} understanding and reasoning, and although he was made capable of learning and doing righteousness, he was not originally _made righteous_, forasmuch as he sinned: but those whom God makes righteous sin no more, because all the works of God are perfect.

    An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality

  • The one may use the term righteous indignation; the other, the word anger.

    A Handbook of Ethical Theory

  • Iran's Foreign Ministry also condemned Libya for suppressing what it called the "righteous demands" of Libyans engaging in a regional Islamic awakening.

    'Outraged' UN Chief Tells Libya's Gadhafi to Stop Violence

  • Iran's Foreign Ministry also condemned Libya for suppressing what it called the "righteous demands" of Libyans engaging in a regional Islamic awakening.

    'Outraged' UN Chief Tells Libya's Gadhafi to Stop Violence

  • Iran's Foreign Ministry also condemned Libya for suppressing what it called the "righteous demands" of Libyans engaging in a regional Islamic awakening.

    'Outraged' UN Chief Tells Libya's Gadhafi to Stop Violence

  • It is the mark of what we call a righteous decision, that it is made directly and for its own sake.

    Lay Morals

  • He meant to leave town a sputtering, raging man, that minister, -- full of what he called righteous wrath.

    Green Valley

  • She had been spouting and sputtering what she called her righteous indignation for some minutes, when after a brief pause and with the angry expression still on her face she exclaimed: "Well, I don't care, it's all peace within."

    Nerves and Common Sense

  • The industry of the righteous is alone truly successful, while the earnings of the wicked tempt and lead to sin.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • It is the mark of what we call a righteous decision, that it is made directly and for its own sake.

    Lay Morals

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    July 24, 2009