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Righteousness vs. Uprightness — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 17, 2024
Righteousness is about conforming to moral and divine laws, while uprightness emphasizes integrity and honesty in actions.
Righteousness vs. Uprightness — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Righteousness and Uprightness


Key Differences

Righteousness pertains to adhering to ethical and moral principles, often with a religious or divine connotation. It implies living in a way that is considered morally right or justifiable according to a set of standards, which can be religious, ethical, or moral. Uprightness, on the other hand, focuses more specifically on honesty and integrity in one's actions and character. It involves being straightforward and honorable in dealings with others, without deceit or fraudulence.
While righteousness can encompass a broad spectrum of moral and ethical behaviors, including justice, charity, and virtue, uprightness is more narrowly focused on the aspect of moral integrity and honesty. Righteousness may involve a wide range of virtuous acts and adherence to divine laws, whereas uprightness is particularly concerned with the truthfulness and integrity of one's actions.
Both righteousness and uprightness are highly valued in many societies and cultures, often seen as ideals to strive towards. They share common ground in promoting ethical behavior and moral integrity but differ in scope and focus. Righteousness might be pursued as part of a spiritual or religious journey, while uprightness is more about the consistent practice of honesty and integrity in daily life.
Despite their differences, righteousness and uprightness often intersect, as living righteously according to many religious and moral systems inherently includes being upright in one's dealings with others. However, one can be upright in their actions and still not fully embrace all aspects of righteousness as defined by specific moral or religious standards.

Comparison Chart


Conformity to moral, ethical, or divine laws.
Demonstrating honesty and integrity.


Broad moral and ethical behavior.
Specific emphasis on honesty and integrity.

Associated with

Often religious or divine principles.
Moral character and ethical actions.

Key Qualities

Moral integrity, justice, virtue.
Honesty, reliability, straightforwardness.


Can be broader, including various virtues.
Narrower, focused on integrity and honesty.

Compare with Definitions


Adherence to moral or divine laws.
His righteousness is evident in his charitable acts.


Core components of uprightness.
His uprightness is reflected in his transparent business dealings.


Encompasses a wide range of virtues.
Righteousness in her community involves helping the needy.


Known for consistency in ethical behavior.
Her uprightness makes her a trusted leader.


Driven by a set of moral or ethical standards.
She practices righteousness by living according to her values.


Direct and clear in communications and actions.
His straightforwardness is a sign of his uprightness.


Frequently associated with religious adherence.
His righteousness stems from his deep faith.


Actions align with principles of honesty.
Uprightness in work involves fair treatment of all employees.


Promotes social justice and moral behavior.
Their righteousness leads to a more equitable community.


A reflection of one's moral character.
Her uprightness is admired by her peers and family.


The quality of being morally right or justifiable
We had little doubt about the righteousness of our cause
Conviction of his own moral righteousness gave his oratory an irresistible power


Adhering strictly to moral principles; righteous.


The state of being right with God; justification; the work of Christ, which is the ground of justification.
There are two kinds of Christian righteousness: the one without us, which we have by imputation; the other in us, which consisteth of faith, hope, and charity, and other Christian virtues.
Only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.


Being in a vertical position or direction
An upright post.


Righteousness is the quality or state of being morally correct and justifiable. It can be considered synonymous with "rightness" or being "upright".


Erect in posture or carriage
"She sat with grim determination, upright as a darning needle stuck in a board" (Harriet Beecher Stowe).


Morally upright; without guilt or sin
A righteous parishioner.


Designed with the pedals below the seat to allow an erect posture rather than a reclining one
An upright bike.


In accordance with virtue or morality
A righteous judgment.


Walk upright.


Righteous people considered as a group.


A perpendicular position; verticality.


(uncountable) The quality or state of being righteous.


Something, such as a goalpost, that stands upright.


Holiness; conformity of life to the divine law.


An upright piano.


(countable) A righteous act, or righteous quality.


An upright bicycle.


The act or conduct of one who is righteous.


To restore to an upright position
The tow truck uprighted the overturned tractor trailer.


(theology) The state of being right with God; justification; the work of Christ, which is the ground justification.


(uncountable) The state of being honest, honourable, and moral.
You are responsible only for your own uprightness. See to that and all else will take care of itself. - Miles Williams Mathis


The quality or state of being righteous; holiness; purity; uprightness; rectitude.


(uncountable) The state of being erect or vertical.


A righteous act, or righteous quality.
All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.


(countable) The product or result of being upright.


The act or conduct of one who is righteous.
Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.


The quality or state of being upright.


Adhering to moral principles


The property of being upright in posture


Position at right angles to the horizon


Uprightness as a consequence of being honorable and honest

Common Curiosities

Can someone be upright but not righteous?

Yes, a person can display uprightness through honest actions without necessarily adhering to all aspects of righteousness, especially those tied to specific religious or moral codes.

How do cultures differ in their interpretation of uprightness?

Cultural norms and values can influence what is considered upright behavior, though honesty and integrity are universally respected.

Can righteousness change over time?

Yes, societal norms and ethical standards evolve, which can affect perceptions of righteousness.

Is uprightness innate or learned?

Uprightness can be innate but is largely developed through socialization, education, and personal choice.

Is righteousness always religious?

While often associated with religion, righteousness can also refer to secular moral principles and living in accordance with ethical standards.

How do righteousness and uprightness impact leadership?

Leaders who embody these qualities are often respected and trusted, fostering a positive and ethical environment.

Can legal actions be righteous but not upright?

Actions might be legally justified but may lack uprightness if they are deceitful or lack integrity.

How do righteousness and uprightness contribute to social harmony?

They foster trust, ethical behavior, and cooperation, contributing to a more harmonious and just society.

Can uprightness conflict with personal interests?

Yes, uprightness may sometimes require acting against personal gain to maintain integrity and honesty.

Are there different levels of righteousness?

Righteousness can be seen as a spectrum, with individuals exhibiting varying degrees based on their actions and adherence to moral principles.

Is it possible to teach uprightness?

Uprightness can be encouraged and nurtured through positive examples, education, and reinforcement of ethical values.

How do individuals balance righteousness and uprightness in conflicts?

Balancing these qualities involves adhering to moral principles while ensuring honesty and integrity, even in challenging situations.

How does one's upbringing influence righteousness?

A person's upbringing, including the values taught by family and community, can greatly influence their understanding and practice of righteousness.

Are there historical figures known for their righteousness and uprightness?

Many historical figures are celebrated for their ethical standards and moral integrity, serving as examples of righteousness and uprightness across cultures.

Can societal norms influence one's sense of uprightness?

Yes, societal expectations and cultural norms play a significant role in shaping one's understanding and practice of uprightness.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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