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Alternative forms[edit]


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.



righteous (comparative more righteous, superlative most righteous)

  1. Free from sin or guilt.
  2. Moral and virtuous, to the point of sanctimonious.
    Human beings should take a righteous path, and so should art. We should promote kindness and beauty through art.
  3. Justified morally.
    righteous rage
  4. (slang, US) Awesome; great.
    • 2008, Stephen King, Graduation Afternoon
      Tonight the kids will go out and party down in a more righteous mode. Alcohol and not a few tabs of X will be ingested. Club music will throb through big speakers.

Derived terms[edit]



righteous (third-person singular simple present righteouses, present participle righteousing, simple past and past participle righteoused)

  1. To make righteous; specifically, to justify religiously, to absolve from sin.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin 2010, p. 101:
      Thus for the purposes of being ‘righteoused’, the Law was irrelevant; yet Paul could not bear to see all the Law disappear.