ethics [eth-iks] SynonymsExamplesWord Origin See more synonyms for ethics on noun

  1. (used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
  2. (used with a plural verb) the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics; Christian ethics.
  3. (used with a plural verb) moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
  4. (used with a singular verb) that branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.Compare axiological ethics, deontological ethics.

Origin of ethics 1400–50; late Middle English ethic + -s3, modeled on Greek tà ēthiká, neuter pluralSynonyms for ethics See more synonyms for on 2. See moral. ethic [eth-ik] noun

  1. the body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group: the Christian ethic; the tribal ethic of the Zuni.
  2. a complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual: a personal ethic.

Origin of ethic 1350–1400; Middle English ethic, etic Latin ēthicus Greek ēthikós, equivalent to êth(os) ethos + -ikos -ic Related formsnon·eth·ic, adjective Related Words for ethics honesty, mores, goodness, integrity, ethic, conduct, ideal, imperative, convention, ethos, conscience, belief, nature, practice, standard, decency, morality, value, honor, criteria Examples from the Web for ethics Contemporary Examples of ethics

  • Fridays there is ethics and law of war training and instruction.

    Pentagon Insider on New Plan to Fight ISIS: ‘Of Course It’s Not Enough’

    Nancy A. Youssef

    January 6, 2015

  • She knows the ethics behind this, and she wants those ethics to be visible on a broad scale.

    Taylor Swift Dumps Spotify, Igniting Turf War Between Spotify and Apple

    Dale Eisinger

    November 4, 2014

  • “These decisions should not be made in private, but with an ethics committee,” he said.

    U.K. Courts Grant Mother Right to End Her 12-Year-Old Disabled Daughter’s Life

    Elizabeth Picciuto

    November 4, 2014

  • By stepping down, the embattled McCaffery preempted an ethics investigation that could have cost him his state pension.

    Judges Behaving Badly: A Great American Tradition

    Asawin Suebsaeng

    October 30, 2014

  • A month before the Ethics Committee vote that McConnell boasts about today, he and Dole were publicly defending Packwood.

    And Now Mitch McConnell Is the ‘Pro-Woman’ Candidate!

    Eleanor Clift

    October 20, 2014

  • Historical Examples of ethics

  • Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone.

    United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches


  • And I pause, true to the ethics of journalism; it’s my duty not to leave just yet.

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • What was the stanchest code of ethics but a trunk with a series of false bottoms?

    The Greater Inclination

    Edith Wharton

  • But to call this ethics ‘philanthropy’ is the strangest of mistakes.


    Theodor Hertzka

  • In short, ethics has been more or less confounded with sexuality.

    The Sexual Question

    August Forel

  • British Dictionary definitions for ethics ethics noun

    1. (functioning as singular) the philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and principles that ought to govern it; moral philosophySee also meta-ethics
    2. (functioning as plural) a social, religious, or civil code of behaviour considered correct, esp that of a particular group, profession, or individual
    3. (functioning as plural) the moral fitness of a decision, course of action, etche doubted the ethics of their verdict

    Derived Formsethicist, noun ethic noun

    1. a moral principle or set of moral values held by an individual or groupthe Puritan ethic


    1. another word for ethical

    See also ethics Word Origin for ethic C15: from Latin ēthicus, from Greek éthikos, from ēthos custom; see ethos Word Origin and History for ethics n.

    “the science of morals,” c.1600, plural of Middle English ethik “study of morals” (see ethic). The word also traces to Ta Ethika, title of Aristotle’s work.

    ethic n.

    late 14c., ethik “study of morals,” from Old French etique (13c.), from Late Latin ethica, from Greek ethike philosophia “moral philosophy,” fem. of ethikos “ethical,” from ethos “moral character,” related to ethos “custom” (see ethos). Meaning “a person’s moral principles” is attested from 1650s.

    ethics in Medicine ethics [ĕth′ĭks] n.

    1. The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the conduct of the members of a profession.

    ethics in Culture ethics

    The branch of philosophy that deals with morality. Ethics is concerned with distinguishing between good and evil in the world, between right and wrong human actions, and between virtuous and nonvirtuous characteristics of people.

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