virtue

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]