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].
"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.
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.
"seduced or corrupted from duty or virtue, vitiated in morals or purity of character," 1590s, past-participle adjective from debauch (v.). Related: Debauchedness.
"a secret, a mystery," proper singular form of arcana (q.v.); in alchemy, a supposed great secret of nature, hence, generally, "the secret virtue" of anything.
early 14c., "splendor, honor; elegance," later "honorable position; propriety of behavior, good manners; virginity, chastity" (late 14c.), from Old French oneste, honesté "respectability, decency, honorable action" (12c., Modern French uses the variant honnêteté, as if from Latin *honestitatem), from Latin honestatem (nominative honestas) "honor received from others; reputation, character;" figuratively "uprightness, probity, integrity, virtue," from honestus (see honest). Meaning "moral purity, uprightness, virtue, justness" is from c. 1400; in English, the word originally had more to do with honor than honest.
c. 1200, ypocrite, "false pretender to virtue or religion," from Old French ypocrite (12c., Modern French hypocrite), from Church Latin hypocrita "a hypocrite," from Greek hypokritēs "stage actor; pretender, dissembler," from hypokrinesthai (see hypocrisy).