Virtue signaling describes a behavior of an individual openly seeking attention and external validation by ostentatiously pronouncing (generally through the use of social media) themselves to the world as someone possessing high moral values for a trivial decision made or action taken.
Brad: Did you see Thad made a lengthy post on TikTok about eradicating world hunger after his business school spring-break trip to Africa?
Chad: Is he donating his trust fund money to any major international world hunger charities? Is he going to work for one of these charities after business school?
Brad: No, he just accepted his offer in private equity and is just virtue signaling.
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Pandering to SJWs with insincere, yet sufficiently "moral", behavior
Joker (2019) was virtue signaling by casting black women in highly generic, though clearly negative, roles.

A bigoted preacher using inclusive pronouns is virtue signaling for the soundbite audience.
by foxysteve November 11, 2019
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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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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.
Nobody:
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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Publically maintaining a popular position or ideology purely as a means of self-advancement, comfortable in the knowledge that actually demonstrating commitment to it is highly improbable.
So Mr Senator(R), you gonna vote for the $2,000 per person COVID relief Bill?
Why yes I surely am. The American people are in the throes of desperation; we need to do EVERYTHING we can!
Too bad Leader Mitch won't bring it up for a vote, eh?
Why yes it surely is. The fact that we won't be voting on that proposition makes me want to support it even more!
Is there anything else you'd like to virtue signal to your constituents while you're here?
by YAWA December 30, 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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