Cardinal virtues
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 For force or virtue ever to expugn. --Chapman. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about. --Mark v. 30. [1913 Webster]

A man was driven to depend for his security against misunderstanding, upon the pure virtue of his syntax. --De Quincey. [1913 Webster]

The virtue of his midnight agony. --Keble. [1913 Webster]

3. Energy or influence operating without contact of the material or sensible substance. [1913 Webster]

She moves the body which she doth possess, Yet no part toucheth, but by virtue's touch. --Sir. J. Davies. [1913 Webster]

4. Excellence; value; merit; meritoriousness; worth. [1913 Webster]

I made virtue of necessity. --Chaucer. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

5. Specifically, moral excellence; integrity of character; purity of soul; performance of duty. [1913 Webster]

Virtue only makes our bliss below. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

If there's Power above us, And that there is all nature cries aloud Through all her works, he must delight in virtue. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

6. A particular moral excellence; as, the virtue of temperance, of charity, etc. ``The very virtue of compassion.'' --Shak. ``Remember all his virtues.'' --Addison. [1913 Webster]

7. Specifically: Chastity; purity; especially, the chastity of women; virginity. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

8. pl. One of the orders of the celestial hierarchy. [1913 Webster]

Thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

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

{In virtue of}, 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. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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  • Cardinal Virtues — • The four principal virtues upon which the rest of the moral virtues turn or are hinged Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Cardinal Virtues     Cardinal Virtues      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Cardinal virtues — Cardinal Car di*nal, a. [L. cardinalis, fr. cardo the hinge of a door, that on which a thing turns or depends: cf. F. cardinal.] Of fundamental importance; pre[ e]minent; superior; chief; principal. [1913 Webster] The cardinal intersections of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cardinal virtues — n. the basic virtues of ancient Greek philosophy; justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance: see also THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES * * * …   Universalium

  • cardinal virtues — n. the basic virtues of ancient Greek philosophy; justice, prudence, fortitude, and temperance: see also THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES …   English World dictionary

  • cardinal virtues — cardinal virtues, prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice. They were considered by the ancient philosophers to be the basic qualities of a good character. Faith, hope, and charity, which are known as the theological virtues, are often… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cardinal virtues — Part of a series on St. Thomas Aquinas …   Wikipedia

  • cardinal virtues — The Platonic cardinal virtues are courage, temperance, wisdom, and justice …   Philosophy dictionary

  • CARDINAL VIRTUES —    these have been arranged by the wisest men of all time, under four general heads, and are defined by Ruskin as Prudence or Discretion (the spirit which discerns and adopts rightly), Justice (the spirit which rules and divides rightly),… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Cardinal Virtues —    See Virtues, The Cardinal …   American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • cardinal virtues —    The word cardinal (from the Latin cardo, meaning hinge or pivot ) is used to describe the four pivotal or major virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. (See CCC 1805) …   Glossary of theological terms

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