The Master List of Virtues and Vices

Download the Complete Document (.pdf):  The Master List of Virtues and Vices


A virtue is a habit or quality that allows the bearer to succeed at his/her/its purpose. The virtue of a knife, for example, is sharpness; among the virtues of a racehorse is speed. Thus to identify the virtues for human beings, one must have an account of what the human purpose is.

This document is a list of virtues compiled from many sources.  Feel free to edit and add to this compilation.  Send corrections and additions to me at: lion@beliefcloset.com. Consider this a community resource.  Share it freely, modify it freely.  See the Creative Commons License information on the last page.

Eudaimonia is a Greek word variously translated from Greek as a state of well-being, happiness, and blessedness. In the context of virtue ethics, it means human flourishingEudaimonia in this sense is an objective state of affairs, not a subjective internal state.  It characterizes the well-lived life, irrespective of the emotional state of the person experiencing it.

According to Aristotle, eudaimonia is the proper goal of human life. It consists of exercising the characteristic human quality –  reason – as the soul’s most proper and nourishing activity. Aristotle, like Plato before him, argued that the pursuit of eudaimonia was an activity that could only properly be exercised in the characteristic human community—the polis or city-state (we would call it our community). For the virtue theorist, eudaimonia describes that state achieved by the person who lives the proper human life, an outcome that can be reached by practicing the virtues.

More than 650 Virtues are listed, followed by The Master List of Vices (more than 350). Two other resources are reproduced for added value:  The Master List of Values (© Values Technology, Inc.), and The VIA Classification of Character Strengths (© VIACharacter.org).

How to Use The List

Life presents us, at every moment, opportunities to practice Virtues, or virtuous behavior.   How you choose to act (or respond to what life presents to you) is a measure of your Virtues.  Like any musical instrument, or building strength by lifting weights, the more you practice, the better you become.  It takes a lot of practice to master anything, and the Virtues are no exception.  At every moment, you are either practicing Virtues or Vices, making them stronger in your life.  Which will you choose today?

Here are suggestions for practicing the Virtues more consciously:

  • Circle the Virtues you want to practice during the coming year, and post them visibly so you can be reminded of them every day.
  • Create a set of “Virtue Cards” and pick one each day to practice.
  • Review the list of Vices, recognize which ones you have been practicing in your life, and practice the opposite Virtue for one full week.
  • Look up in a dictionary any words that are unfamiliar, or which you can’t define, including their derivation, usage, and examples.
  • Meditate on one Virtue each day.

I wish you well on your journey to a more virtuous life, leading to your own state of eudaimonia.


Download the Complete List now (.pdf):  The Master List of Virtues and Vices


Sample from The Complete List:


The Master List of Virtues

A

  • ability
  • abundance
  • acceptance
  • accountability
  • accuracy
  • achievement
  • acknowledgment
  • acting on convictions
  • activism
  • adaptability
  • adoration
  • adventure
  • advice
  • affection
  • aging gracefully
  • allowing
  • altruism
  • amazement
  • ambition
  • anger at injustice
  • anticipation
  • apology
  • appeasement
  • appreciation
  • appreciation of beauty
  • appreciation of
  • excellence
  • approbation
  • appropriate knowledge
  • appropriate conduct
  • approval
  • art
  • assertiveness
  • assumptions
  • atonement
  • attention
  • attitude
  • austerity
  • authenticity
  • authority
  • autonomy
  • awareness
  • awe

B

  • balance
  • beauty
  • being true to oneself
  • belief
  • benevolence
  • benignity
  • bliss
  • bravery

C

  • candor
  • capacity to love
  • capacity to be loved
  • care
  • caring
  • caution
  • celebration
  • celibacy
  • certainty
  • chance
  • change
  • chaos
  • character
  • charity
  • charm
  • chastity
  • cheerfulness
  • chivalry
  • choice
  • citizenship
  • civility
  • clarity
  • class
  • cleanliness
  • coincidence
  • collaboration
  • commitment
  • communication
  • communion
  • community
  • companionship
  • compassion
  • completeness
  • composure
  • comprehension
  • compromise
  • concentration
  • confession
  • confidence
  • congruence
  • conscience
  • consciousness
  • consecration
  • conservatism
  • consideration
  • consistency
  • contemplation
  • contentment
  • contribution
  • control
  • conviction
  • cooperation
  • cooperativeness
  • correctness
  • courage
  • courteousness
  • courtesy
  • creativity
  • credibility
  • critical thinking
  • culture
  • curiosity

… continued …

For the complete list, download it now: The Master List of Virtues and Vices


The Master List of Vices

Note that any of these vices could, under certain circumstances, be neutral, or be a positive virtue.  These words are used to describe behaviors and actions which tend NOT produce harmony, goodness, happiness, or eudaimonia, but rather their opposites.

Any virtue applied in excess can become a vice. (Too much medicine is toxic, for example.  Too much love can become co-dependence.  To much peace can become passivity.)

Many  vices listed below could be used as a virtue if appropriately applied to specific circumstances, people, timing, and lessons required for growth and evolution. Many teachers have used what is called “crazy wisdom” to awaken their students, for example.  Because great wisdom is required to use any vice in a virtuous manner, vices are best avoided.

Whatever you practice becomes stronger.  If you are not actively practicing one or more virtues, you are probably practicing one or more vices.

A

  • abuse
  • addictions
  • adultery
  • adversity
  • aggression
  • agitation
  • alcoholism
  • alienation
  • aloofness
  • ambition
  • anarchy
  • anger
  • angst
  • animosity
  • annoyance
  • anxiety
  • apathy
  • approval-seeking
  • arrogance
  • attachment
  • automaticity
  • avarice
  • awkwardness

B

  • baseness
  • bigotry
  • blame
  • blasphemy
  • boastfulness
  • boredom
  • brutality
  • burn-out

C

  • calculation
  • callousness
  • calumniation
  • capriciousness
  • celebrity
  • censoriousness
  • chaos
  • chauvinism
  • complacency
  • complaining
  • compromise
  • con artist
  • conceit
  • condescension
  • conflict
  • conformity
  • confusion
  • conniving
  • contempt
  • contradiction
  • contrariness
  • control
  • corruption
  • cowardice
  • criticism
  • cruelty
  • cunning
  • cursing
  • cynicism

… continued …

For the complete list, download it now: The Master List of Virtues and Vices


Sources and Resources