late 14c., "moral strength (as a cardinal virtue); courage," from Latin fortitudo "strength, force, firmness, manliness," from fortis "strong, brave" (see fort). From early 15c. as "physical strength."
"excellence in an object of art, passion for works of art," 1722, from Italian virtu "excellence," from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "virtue, goodness, manliness" (see virtue). The same word as virtue, borrowed during a period when everything Italian was in vogue. Sometimes spelled vertu, as though from French, but this sense of the word is not in French.
Middle English manhede, manhode, "state of being human" (early 13c.), from man (n.) + -hood. Sense of "manliness, qualities considered becoming to a man" (variously: "courageous behavior, bravery; courteous behavior, gentility; compassion, kindness") is from c. 1300. Meaning "state of being an adult male" is from late 14c.
Similar words in Old English also were less explicitly masculine: manscipe "humanity, courtesy," literally "man-ship;" mennisclicnes "state of man, humanity, humaneness, human nature" (compare mannish). The more purely "manly" word was werhad "male sex, virility, manhood" (see first element in werewolf).
c. 1300, "characterized by vigor or strength; having qualities befitting a knight; valiant, hardy, courageous;" from Old French vertuos "righteous; potent; of good quality; mighty, valiant, brave" (12c.), from Late Latin virtuosus "good, virtuous," from Latin virtus "moral strength, high character, goodness; manliness; valor, bravery, courage (in war); excellence, worth," from vir "man" (from PIE root *wi-ro- "man").
From mid-14c. in English as "having beneficial or efficacious properties;" late 14c. (of persons) as "having excellent moral qualities; conforming to religious law." Related: Virtuously; virtuousness.
late 14c., "influencing by physical virtues or capabilities, effective with respect to inherent natural qualities," from Medieval Latin virtualis, from Latin virtus "excellence, potency, efficacy," literally "manliness, manhood" (see virtue). The meaning "being something in essence or effect, though not actually or in fact" is from mid-15c., probably via sense of "capable of producing a certain effect" (early 15c.). Computer sense of "not physically existing but made to appear by software" is attested from 1959.
1883, "the dress, manners, and social peculiarities of the class known as dudes" [Century Dictionary], from dude + -ism.
The dude possesses in his outward appearance and bearing all the attributes of a gentleman, excepting, perhaps, that of manliness. His dress is unostentatious in its perfection, its only loud notes being a pair of white gaiters, which are believed to be going out already in obedience to the unwritten code of dudeism. Why the dude feels any interest in life is not clear—he does not look as if he enjoyed it. There is a certain introspective earnestness in his bearing that reminds one of the theological student, and perhaps the prevailing high collar strengthens the resemblance. [Phrenological Journal, July 1883]
c. 1200, vertu, "moral life and conduct; a particular moral excellence," from Anglo-French and Old French vertu "force, strength, vigor; moral strength; qualities, abilities" (10c. in Old French), from Latin virtutem (nominative virtus) "moral strength, high character, goodness; manliness; valor, bravery, courage (in war); excellence, worth," from vir "man" (from PIE root *wi-ro- "man").
For my part I honour with the name of virtue the habit of acting in a way troublesome to oneself and useful to others. [Stendhal "de l'Amour," 1822]
Especially (in women) "chastity, sexual purity" from 1590s. Phrase by virtue of (early 13c.) preserves alternative Middle English sense of "efficacy." The 14c. Wycliffe Bible has virtue where KJV uses power. The seven cardinal virtues (early 14c.) were natural (justice, prudence, temperance, fortitude) and theological (hope, faith, charity). To make a virtue of a necessity (late 14c.) translates Latin facere de necessitate virtutem [Jerome].