- (used with a singular or plural verb) a system of moral principles: the ethics of a culture.
- (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.
- (used with a plural verb) moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade betrayal of a confidence.
- (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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- 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.
- a complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual: a personal ethic.
Origin of ethic
Examples from the Web for 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
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
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
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!
October 20, 2014
Restoration calls, however, not for changes in ethics alone.
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
But to call this ethics 'philanthropy' is the strangest of mistakes.Freeland
In short, ethics has been more or less confounded with sexuality.The Sexual Question
- (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
- (functioning as plural) a social, religious, or civil code of behaviour considered correct, esp that of a particular group, profession, or individual
- (functioning as plural) the moral fitness of a decision, course of action, etche doubted the ethics of their verdict
- a moral principle or set of moral values held by an individual or groupthe Puritan ethic
- another word for ethical
Word Origin and History for ethics
"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.
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.
- The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the conduct of the members of a profession.
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.