From Middle English rightwisnes, from Old English rihtwīsnes (justice).


  • IPA(key): /ˈɹaɪt͡ʃəsnəs/
  • (file)


righteousness (countable and uncountable, plural righteousnesses)

  1. (uncountable) The quality or state of being righteous.
    • 1834, Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Francesca Carrara, volume 1, page 45:
      But in these days of fanaticism, that harsh and violent spirit is abroad, when men clothe their own angry passions in the garb of righteousness, and call persecution vindicating the honour of God.
  2. (uncountable, theology) Holiness; conformity of life to the divine law.
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 4, in A Cuckoo in the Nest:
      By some paradoxical evolution rancour and intolerance have been established in the vanguard of primitive Christianity. Mrs. Spoker, in common with many of the stricter disciples of righteousness, was as inclement in demeanour as she was cadaverous in aspect.
    Synonyms: rectitude, uprightness, holiness, godliness, equity, justice, rightfulness, integrity, honesty, faithfulness
  3. (countable) A righteous act, or righteous quality.
  4. The act or conduct of one who is righteous.
  5. (theology) The state of being right with God; justification; the work of Christ, which is the ground justification.


Derived termsEdit

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for righteousness in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913)