AskDefine | Define meekness

Dictionary Definition



1 the feeling of patient submissive humbleness [syn: submission]
2 a disposition to be patient and long suffering

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. the quality of being meek

Extensive Definition

The Seven Virtues were derived from the Psychomachia ("Contest of the Soul"), an epic poem written by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius (c. 410 AD) entailing the battle of good virtues and evil vices. The intense popularity of this work in the Middle Ages helped to spread the concept of Holy Virtue throughout Europe. Practicing these virtues is alleged to protect one against temptation from the Seven Deadly Sins, with each one having its counterpart. Due to this they are sometimes referred to as the contrary virtues. There are two distinct variations of the virtues, recognized by different groups.

The Virtues

the seven holy virtues are:
  • Chastity (Latin, Castitas) (purity, opposes Lust, Latin Luxuria): Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of body and thought through education and betterment.
  • Temperance (Latin, Temperantia) (self-control, opposes Gluttony, Latin Gula):Practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation.
  • Charity (Latin, Liberalitas) (will, generosity, opposes Greed, Latin Avaritia):Generosity. Willingness to give. A nobility of thought or actions.
  • Diligence (Latin, Industria) (ethics, opposes Sloth, Latin Acedia):A zealous and careful nature in one's actions and work. Decisive work ethic. Budgeting one's time; monitoring one's own activities to guard against laziness. Putting forth full concentration in one's work
  • Kindness (Latin, Humanitas) (peace, opposes Wrath, Latin Ira):Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. The ability to forgive; to show mercy to sinners.
  • Humility (Latin, Humilitas) (modesty, opposes Pride, Latin Superbia):Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one's own self.


Restraint is the keystone of the seven holy virtues. The other holy virtues are created through selfless pursuits:
  • Valour: Pursuit of Courage and Knowledge
  • Generosity: Pursuit of Giving
  • Liberality: Pursuit of Will
  • Diligence: Pursuit of Ethics
  • Patience: Pursuit of Peace
  • Kindness: Pursuit of Charity
  • Humility: Pursuit of Modesty

Cardinal and Theological Virtues

Another list of the Seven Virtues consists of a combination of the four Cardinal Virtues and the three Theological Virtues:
  • Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude
  • Faith, Hope, and Charity
This formulation shows very clearly the combination of Greek virtues (the Cardinal Virtues) with Christian virtues (found in 1 Corinthians 13). These virtues do not line up so nicely as opposites to the Seven Deadly Sins, but are commonly referenced as the Seven Virtues.
meekness in Czech: Sedm ctností
meekness in Spanish: Siete virtudes (catecismo)
meekness in Dutch: Zeven deugden
meekness in Norwegian Nynorsk: Dei sju dygdene
meekness in Norwegian: De syv dyder
meekness in Portuguese: Sete virtudes
meekness in Swedish: De sju dygderna
meekness in Chinese: 七美德
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