by virtue of



Modification of Middle English in vertu of, a calque of Anglo-Norman par vertu de or Middle French par la vertu de (by the authority of); from Old French vertu (goodness; honour; valour; virtue) (whence English virtue ((obsolete) inherent power of a god or other supernatural being; inherent power or efficacy of something)).[1]



by virtue of

  1. (idiomatic) (originally) by the authority or power of; (now) because of; on the grounds of; by reason of.
    Synonyms: based on, due to, in virtue of; see also Thesaurus:because of
    • 1543 June 8, Henry VIII of England, “The Nynthe Article. The Holy Catholike Churche.”, in A Necessary Doctrine and Erudicion for Any Chrysten Man, Set furth by the Kynges Maiestye of Englande, &c., imprinted at London: [] by Thomas Berthelet, [], OCLC 1126428435:
      Moreouer the perfit beleue of this article, worketh in all true chriſten people, aloue to continue in this vnitie, and afeare to be caſte out of the ſame, and it worketh in them that be ſinners and repentant, great comforte, and conſolacion, to obteine remiſſion of ſinne, by vertue of Chriſtes paſſion, and adminiſtracion of his ſacramentes at the miniſters handes, ordained for that purpoſe, [...]
    • 1605 February 16, “The Tryal of the Conspirators Concern’d in the Gunpowder-Plot, on Monday the 27th of January, Anno 1605. [Julian calendar] and in the Third Year of King James the First, in Westminster-Hall, before the Lords Commissioners there; [...]”, in [Thomas Salmon], editor, A Compleat Collection of State-Tryals, and Proceedings upon Impeachment for High Treason, and Other Crimes and Misdemeanours; [] In Four Volumes, volume I, London: Printed for Timothy Goodwin, []; John Walthoe []; Benj[amin] Tooke []; John Darby []; Jacob Tonson []; and John Walthoe Jun. [], published 1719, OCLC 470588883, page 193, column 1:
      But in the high Court of Parliament, every Man by virtue of the King's Authority, by Writ under the Great Seal, hath a judicial Place; and ſo conſequently the killing of every of them had been a ſeveral Treaſon, and Crimen læſæ Majeſtatis.
    • 1642 July 28, Jer[emiah] Burroughes [i.e., Jeremiah Burroughs], “The Sixth Lecture. Hosea I. the middle of the 11. Verse.”, in An Exposition of the Prophecie of Hosea. [], London: Printed by W. E. and J. G. for R. Dawlman, published 1643, OCLC 10952607, page 151:
      I call that an Inſtitution that hath an efficacie in it for the attaining of ſuch an end by virtue of the Inſtitution, not by virtue of any naturalneſſe that is in the thing. [...] So in preaching the Word, and Eccleſiaſticall cenſures, there is more to be expected, more efficacie to work upon the ſoule, for the ſpirituall man; by virtue of the Inſtitution, then there is in the naturall things that are done there.
    • 1691, [Anthony Wood], “SAMUEL KEME”, in Athenæ Oxonienses. An Exact History of All the Writers and Bishops who have had Their Education in the Most Ancient and Famous University of Oxford from the Fifteenth Year of King Henry the Seventh, Dom. 1500, to the End of the Year 1690. [], volume II (Completing the Whole Work), London: [] Tho[mas] Bennet [], OCLC 940080452, column 341:
      [Samuel Keme] became [...] a retainer, if I miſtake not, to the family of Edward Wray of Ricot Eſq, Patron of the ſaid Church, by virtue of his marriage with Elizabeth the dau[ghter] and heir of Francis L[ord] Norris Earl of Berks[hire].
    • 1749, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, “The Account which the Disconsolate Matron Gives of Her Misfortune”, in [Peter Anthony] Motteux, transl.; [John] Ozell, editor, The History of the Renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha. [], volume IV, 8th edition, London: [] W[illiam] Innys, [], OCLC 1102757534, part II, pages 32–33:
      [W]e found there was but one way; Don Clavijo ſhould demand the young lady in marriage before the curate, by virtue of a promiſe under her hand, which I dictated for the purpoſe, and ſo binding, that all the ſtrength of Sampſon himſelf could not have broken the tie.
    • 1826, George Crabb, “To Guarantee, be Security, be Responsible, Warrant”, in English Synonymes, with Copious Illustrations and Explanations. Drawn from the Best Writers, new enlarged edition, London: Printed for Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, []; and Simpkin and Marshall, []; by C. Baldwin, [], OCLC 4771813, page 173, column 1:
      We guarantee by virtue of our power and the confidence of those who accept the guarantee; it is given by means of a word, which is accepted as a pledge for the future performance of a contract; [...]
    • 1999, Steve Farrow, “Key Idea 4.1: Sources and Forms of Energy”, in The Really Useful Science Book: A Framework of Knowledge for Primary Teachers, 2nd edition, Abingdon, Oxfordshire; New York, N.Y.: RoutledgeFalmer, published 2006, →ISBN, section 4 (Physical Processes), page 147:
      Sir Isaac Newton was the first person to theorize that any two objects would be attracted towards each other by virtue of their masses, and that strength of the force of attraction – the gravitational force – would depend on the masses of the two objects and their distance apart.
    • 2018 June 18, Phil McNulty, “Tunisia 1 – 2 England”, in BBC Sport[1], archived from the original on 21 April 2019:
      England's domination of the first half was almost total, but they somehow contrived to allow Tunisia to raise themselves off the floor by virtue of rank carelessness from [Gareth] Southgate's side.



  1. ^ “by virtue of” in “virtue, n.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, December 2013; “by (or in) virtue of, phrase”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.