Alternative formsEdit


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.


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹaɪtʃəs/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪtʃəs


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 indignation
  4. (slang, US) Awesome; great.
    • 1986, John Hughes, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, spoken by Grace Wheelberg (Edie McClurg):
      The sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads - they all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude.
    • 1995, Norman L. Russell, Doug Grad, Suicide Charlie: A Vietnam War Story (page 191)
      He sold me a bulging paper sack full of Cambodian Red for two dolla' MPC. A strange experience, copping from a kid, but it was righteous weed.
    • 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 termsEdit



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.