Obviously, just for the 7 deadly sins you would use 'sin' and for the 7 heavenly virtues you would use 'virtue' or 'heavenly' but what word would you use to describe all 14 of them together?

  • I reckon that wouldn't be necessary, because everyone knows them. It's common sense. – user76935 Jul 16 '14 at 17:37
  • Christianity is the major religion in both major English-speaking countries UK and USA, so yes it's common sense. – user76935 Jul 16 '14 at 17:44
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    "The fourteen equipoised vicetues"? – Sven Yargs Aug 5 '14 at 17:46
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    The 14 heavenly sins? Sounds perhaps a bit too much like a fortnight of amusing debauchery … – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 22 '14 at 16:34
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    We need more context, why would you need such a thing? How specific is it to the Catholic dogma and how specific to the notion of morality as a whole, vs, as has been floated, personality. – Jon Jay Obermark Aug 27 '14 at 0:41

Consider dogma: an official system of principles or tenets concerning faith, morals, behavior, etc., as of a church.

Also consider using tenets as a descriptor, e.g. "the 14 religious tenets of good and evil."

  • If you are citing a published source, please tell us which one. – tchrist Aug 22 '14 at 15:48

That's actually a great question. I believe there's no ready-to-use term, no.

If I was writing about them, I'd maybe refer to the 14 "heavenly qualities" - I don't think you could do a lot better than that.

(So for example, ".. and of the 14 qualities, only 5 refer to sexuality .." etc.)

You could possibly use "dictums". You could also possibly just use "acts" or "actions", which is what they are. Hope it helps.

Again there is in fact no word that we "all already use" for that super-set. (I'm fairly certain.)

(By the way, if you very simply look in a dictionary, you'll see that sins are "acts" .. virtues are more "behaviours". Since, indeed, they are two different categories of things, I feel you could edge it and call them the 14 heavenly 'qualities' if you were writing about them. But I think the key is there is NO word existing now for these 14 .. heavenly sin-virtue specifications.)

Note that you could possibly call the, uh, edicts themselves .. edicts.

But you want a word for the "thing" referred to in the edict .. right?

  • These are neither dictums nor actions. They are concepts, not sayings, and indeed patience and restraint could be interpreted as the very opposite of action. – choster Jul 16 '14 at 16:46
  • For sure, as I said, para 6, the sins tend to be actions but the virtues are more "qualities" - broader sustained "behavioural patterns." – Fattie Jul 16 '14 at 16:48
  • Then why do you suggest acts or actions for the entire collection? – choster Jul 16 '14 at 16:51
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    As Wikipedia says, they're all personality traits. You can line up pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, sloth with their respective "opposites" as humility, charity, kindness, patience, chastity, temperance, diligence. So arguably we could just call them clines, where if your actual behaviour is close to either of the extremes, you must be either a saint or a sinner. – FumbleFingers Jul 16 '14 at 17:00
  • nice point on "traits" or "personality traits" - but on the other hand, I dunno, like "murder" is it a "trait"? You can totally see what the OPs asking though, is there simply a superset word for sin/virtue? Again I'm troubled by the fact that a sin is an act; a virtue is a 'quality'. And there's so many different ways these things are presented in the bible, catechisms or whatever. – Fattie Jul 16 '14 at 17:11

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