rectitude \REK-tuh-tood\ noun
: the quality or state of being straight
: moral integrity : righteousness
: the quality or state of being correct in judgment or procedure
The speaker exhorted audience members to lead lives of unimpeachable rectitude and integrity.
“The finance ministry will pitch India’s strength as a largely domestic economy, renew its commitment to fiscal rectitude and showcase recent measures to lift sentiment to try and convince global rating firms not to downgrade the country’s sovereign rating.” — From an article by Deepshikha Sikarwar in The Economic Times, September 7, 2012
“Rectitude” has a righteous derivation. It comes straight from the Latin noun “rectus,” which means both “right” and “straight.” “Rectitude” itself can mean either “straightness” (an early use referred to literal straightness of lines, although this sense is now rare) or “rightness” of character. “Rectus” has a number of other descendants in English, including “rectangle” (a figure with four right angles), “rectify” (“to make right”), “rectilinear” (“moving in or forming a straight line”), and even “rectus” itself (a medical term for any one of several straight muscles in the body).
: conformity to a standard of right
: of particular moral excellence
Entry in Webster's Dictionary
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