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A quality considered morally good or desirable in a person; the important virtues are traditionally the four cardinal virtues (see cardinal 2), justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude, valued by the classical philosophers and adopted by the scholastic philosophers, and the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity, enumerated by St Paul.

virtue is its own reward proverbial saying, early 16th century; meaning that the satisfaction of knowing that one has observed appropriate moral standards should be all that is sought. The saying is found earlier in Latin, in the works of the Roman poet Ovid (43 bc–ad c. 17).

See also cardinal virtues at cardinal2.

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