“Virtue Signaling” | What Does this Slang Term Mean?

Last Updated on December 16, 2020

The slang term “virtue signaling” is a relatively new term being thrown around the internet. If you have encountered this phrase being used and were left wondering what it means, then you have made it to the correct page to find out what you need to know. Here you will not only find out the meaning of this phrase, but you will also see some information about its origin and some other meanings of the phrase if there are any that exist.

You will also have the chance to read over some example conversations that feature the phrase being used correctly to help you gain a deeper understanding. Finally, the piece is summed up with some alternative words or phrases that you can use interchangeably with the original phrase to mean the same thing.

“Virtue Signaling” Meaning

What Does “Virtue Signaling” Mean?

The term means to proclaim one’s standards, morals, or beliefs in any type of public setting so that everyone knows your moral standing on a specific topic. It is done by a person to prove how much better they are than everyone else and not done out of the want or desire to fix a problem.

Origin of “Virtue Signaling”

This term has been used since at least 2013 when it first appeared in a blog on the site LessWrong. It was used in the blog to describe why people could not get along in certain social circles. It was later used again for similar reasons in a 2015 article published in The Spectator by journalist James Bartholomew. In the article, Bartholomew pointed out that signs in a Whole Foods market and statements made about the hatred of banks were a clear example of this term.

Other Meanings

There are currently no other known meanings of this term.

Conversation Examples

A conversation between two friends.

  • Friend 1: James is always quick to interject conversations and declare his opinions and morals publicly.
  • Friend 2: What is so wrong with that?
  • Friend 1: Nothing, but it gets annoying at times when he makes me feel like I am wrong for feeling the way I do, especially about topics where we don’t see eye to eye.

An online discussion between two Facebook users.

  • User 1: I don’t agree with this at all. It is morally disgusting to abort a baby at any time during pregnancy.
  • User 2: Well, that is a clear case of virtue signaling. Not everyone agrees with you.
  • User 1: Agree or not, I am right and they are wrong. Anyone who believes differently is the problem with society today.

Synonyms for Virtue Signaling

There are several alternative ways to say this phrase that are synonymous with the original. Some other ways you could state the same thing include:

  • moral posturing
  • publicly expressing your morals and beliefs
  • showing off your moral opinions to gain attention for yourself and not about the actual topic at hand.

Virtue Signaling Meaning Infographic

Virtue SignalingPin

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1 thought on ““Virtue Signaling” | What Does this Slang Term Mean?”

  1. Thank you for your clear and concise explanation of virtue signaling, especially using the phrase in conversations. It’s a phrase that is not always clear to me when I see it used in arguments on social media.


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