• synonyms


  1. ethics, especially that branch dealing with duty, moral obligation, and right action.
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Origin of deontology

1820–30; < Greek deont- that which is binding (stem of déon, neuter present participle of deîn to bind), equivalent to de- bind + -ont- present participle suffix + -o- + -logy
Related formsde·on·to·log·i·cal [dee-on-tl-oj-i-kuh l] /diˌɒn tlˈɒdʒ ɪ kəl/, adjectivede·on·tol·o·gist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for deontological


  1. philosophy (of an ethical theory) regarding obligation as deriving from reason or as residing primarily in certain specific rules of conduct rather than in the maximization of some good
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  1. the branch of ethics dealing with duty, moral obligation, and moral commitment
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Derived Formsdeontologist, noun

Word Origin

C19: from Greek deon duty (see deontic) + -logy
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 deontological



science of moral duty, 1826, from Greek deont-, comb. form of deon "that which is binding, duty," neuter present participle of dei "is binding;" + -logia "discourse" (see -logy). Said to have been coined by Bentham. Related: Deontological.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper