[kon-si-kwen-shuh-liz-uh m]
  1. the theory that human actions derive their moral worth solely from their outcomes or consequences.
  2. the theory that ethical decisions should be made on the basis of the expected outcome or consequences of the action.
Related formscon·se·quen·tial·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for consequentialism


  1. ethics the doctrine that an action is right or wrong according as its consequences are good or bad
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for consequentialism

1969, from consequential + -ism. The philosophy that the morality of an action is to be judged solely by its consequences. Related: Consequentialist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper