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To take a conspicuous but essentially useless action ostensibly to support a good cause but actually to show off how much more moral you are than everybody else.
Fred: I see George has changed his profile picture to show his support for refugees.
Barbara: Has he donated money or time? Is he giving English lessons? Is he making a room available?
Fred: No, no, he's just virtue signalling.
by Verboy December 09, 2015
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May 14 Word of the Day
Intelligence agency term for "psychological operation". A government or corporate-sponsored operation, usually taking the form of a "terrorist attack" or "crazed gunman on a spree", with the intent of panicking the public into demanding more police and laws inhibiting freedom. Psyops are usually carried out by drugging a civilian or group of civilians with aggression-promoting drugs, psyching them up, arming them, and sending them out to commit mayhem. Government-sponsored terrorism. See also blackshirts, conspiracy
Person A: Man, that nutcase Martin Bryant guy shot 35 people in Tasmania!

Person B: No, he wasn't a nutcase, that was just a psyop so the government could have an excuse to ban guns.
by Mystikan April 11, 2006
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Advocating a political or philosophical position, and/or taking up a public cause, from a position of vanity, for the primary purpose of demonstrating your conformity with fashionable pop culture values.
Angela's sudden advocacy for the local pet shelter was mostly an exercise in public relations and virtue signalling. She had never much cared for dogs and cats before, but she instinctively understood teary-eyed public support for defenseless animals generally said something good about her as a person.
by Okie G.L. April 21, 2016
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What celebrities, politicians and companies do when they are trying to be politically woke.
J. K. Rowling: Btw, Dumbledore was in a passionate gay relationship.
Everyone: Uh, ok... Where is that in the books and movies?
J. K. Rowling: Nowhere, i just made it so.
Everyone: Why are you saying this only now? Back in 2007 (when the last Harry Potter book came out) only one state had gay marriage legalized. Don't you think the LGBTQ community would have liked your support more back then?
J. K. Rowling: ...
Everyone: ...
J. K. Rowling: Well... but now he is SUPER gay.
Everyone, to each other: man, virtue signalling like this is just so pretentious.
J. K. Rowling: Also, have you heard about Hermione?
Everyone: please stop.
by german_latino May 07, 2020
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Saying you love or hate something to show off what a virtuous person you are, instead of actually trying to fix the problem.
Jane: "Wow! I hate Fox News! They're so evil and they hate women!"
John: "Why don't you actually do something instead of just virtue signalling about it?"
Jane: "OMG that would be WAAAAAAY too much work" *goes back to shitposting on twitter*
by Juz16 November 03, 2015
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A scheming, disingenuous act of kindness and selflessness to show ones solidarity with a cause, such as volunteering for CAMHS, all to boost ones image and reputation, rather than to help the cause. It is commonly weaponised by politicians and used in debates to appease the majority.
Synonyms: I have no life, I'm a cuck, please give me attention, stop mansplaining
Antonyms: I'm smart, I'm sexy, I'm not a 28 year old living in his mother's basement, I've got a nice schlong
Examples of virtue signalling:
- Jeremy Corbyn introducing his pronouns during a speech on Pink News
- Simon Cowell allowing a mediocre comedian to progress to the finals of Britain's Got Talent because he was disabled
- 18 year old college students stating their obvious gender pronouns in their Instagram/Twitter bios
- Wokeness - wokeness is virtue signalling, and virtue signalling is wokeness
- Michelle Williams' irrelevant and unnecessary speech at the Golden Globe Awards
- Refuting the scientific reality of biological sex
via giphy
by bigboobies007 January 08, 2020
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A term that is far too often used to dismiss an opposing opinion that is based on morals, ethics, or ideals, when the introduction of such into a debate could critically undermine one's stance.
Waldon: "But you CAN'T flatten that building to build a Walmart! Not only is it an orphanage, but the roof is a rare bird sanctuary, it's built over a graveyard AND an aquifer, hosts the only local live music night in the city on Wednesdays, and is a legally protected heritage site!"

Developer: "Don't listen to that virtue signalling hippy, boys, start up them bulldozers, we got a permit!"
by Urban Savage March 17, 2017
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