Most of the synonyms for self-righteous are deprecating.

One of the wonderful things about the English language is that most ideas have a word for the positive connotation, and a word for the negative connotation.

I'm trying to find the positive connotation for someone's behaviour being self-righteous. (In the context of trying to work with them in a team).

My question is: What's the polite way of describing someone's behaviour that appears to be self-righteous?

2 Answers 2


You may say that they are always on the on the right side of things. The idea is that self-righteous people consciously stick to the right side (as they see it).


on the right side of


1 On the safe, appropriate, or desirable side of.

‘her portrayal of his neurotic wife falls just on the right side of caricature’

1.1 In a position to be viewed with favor by.

‘he hasn't always remained on the right side of the law’

  • That's brilliant.
    – hawkeye
    Dec 10, 2016 at 7:25

The positive, flip side of someone being self-righteous is that

s/he has a strong sense of justice


The quality of being fair and reasonable


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