[ eth-i-kuhl ]
/ ˈɛθ ɪ kəl /


pertaining to or dealing with morals or the principles of morality; pertaining to right and wrong in conduct.
being in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, especially the standards of a profession: It was not considered ethical for physicians to advertise.
(of drugs) sold only upon medical prescription.

Nearby words

  1. etheric,
  2. etherify,
  3. etherize,
  4. ethernet,
  5. ethic,
  6. ethical culture,
  7. ethical hacker,
  8. ethical investment,
  9. ethical relativism,
  10. ethical will

Origin of ethical

First recorded in 1600–10; ethic + -al1

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ethical

British Dictionary definitions for ethical


/ (ˈɛθɪkəl) /


in accordance with principles of conduct that are considered correct, esp those of a given profession or group
of or relating to ethics
(of a medicinal agent) available legally only with a doctor's prescription or consent
Derived Formsethically, adverbethicalness or ethicality, noun

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 ethical



c.1600, "pertaining to morality," from ethic + -al (1). Related: Ethicality; ethically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for ethical


[ ĕthĭ-kəl ]


Of, relating to, or dealing with ethics.
Being in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong that govern the conduct of a profession.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.