The term “virtue” comes from the Latin word “virtus,” which means “moral excellence” or “manliness.” This is derived from the Latin root “vir,” meaning “man.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “*wi-ro-” means “man.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “vir” developed, meaning “man.” The noun “virtus” combines “vir” (man) and a suffix indicating quality, meaning “manliness,” “valor,” or “moral excellence.”

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin term “virtus” evolved into Old French “vertu,” meaning “moral excellence” or “strength.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “vertu” was adopted into Middle English as “vertu” or “virtue,” meaning “moral excellence” or “goodness.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “virtue” evolved into its current form and pronunciation, retaining the meaning of “moral excellence” or “a commendable quality or trait.”

Phonetic Evolution

Over time, the pronunciation of “virtue” has remained relatively stable from Middle English to Modern English.

Usage Examples

  • “Virtue is often used to describe a commendable quality or trait.”
  • “Another example of ‘virtue’ in a sentence is ‘Patience is considered a virtue.'”

Cultural or Historical Notes

The development of the word “virtue” was significantly influenced by philosophical and religious traditions that emphasized moral excellence and commendable qualities, such as those found in Greek philosophy and Christian ethics.

The word “virtue” reflects the qualities of moral excellence, strength, and commendable traits, emphasizing the importance of good character and ethical behavior in human societies.