[mawr-uhl, mor-]



Origin of moral

1300–50; Middle English < Latin mōrālis, equivalent to mōr- (stem of mōs) usage, custom + -ālis -al1
Related formsmor·al·less, adjectivean·ti·mor·al, adjectivehy·per·mor·al, adjectivehy·per·mor·al·ly, adverbo·ver·mor·al, adjectiveo·ver·mor·al·ly, adverbpre·mor·al, adjectivepre·mor·al·ly, adverbpseu·do·mor·al, adjectivequa·si-mor·al, adjectivequa·si-mor·al·ly, adverbsu·per·mor·al, adjectivesu·per·mor·al·ly, adverbun·der·mor·al, adjective
Can be confusedmoral morale (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for moral

5. upright, honest, straightforward, open, virtuous, honorable. 11. integrity, standards, morality. Morals, ethics refer to rules and standards of conduct and practice. Morals refers to generally accepted customs of conduct and right living in a society, and to the individual's practice in relation to these: the morals of our civilization. Ethics now implies high standards of honest and honorable dealing, and of methods used, especially in the professions or in business: ethics of the medical profession. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for moral

Contemporary Examples of moral

Historical Examples of moral

British Dictionary definitions for moral



concerned with or relating to human behaviour, esp the distinction between good and bad or right and wrong behaviourmoral sense
adhering to conventionally accepted standards of conduct
based on a sense of right and wrong according to consciencemoral courage; moral law
having psychological rather than tangible effectsmoral support
having the effects but not the appearance of (victory or defeat)a moral victory; a moral defeat
having a strong probabilitya moral certainty
law (of evidence, etc) based on a knowledge of the tendencies of human nature


the lesson to be obtained from a fable or eventpoint the moral
a concise truth; maxim
(plural) principles of behaviour in accordance with standards of right and wrong
Derived Formsmorally, adverb

Word Origin for moral

C14: from Latin mōrālis relating to morals or customs, from mōs custom
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 moral

mid-14c., "pertaining to character or temperament" (good or bad), from Old French moral (14c.) and directly from Latin moralis "proper behavior of a person in society," literally "pertaining to manners," coined by Cicero ("De Fato," II.i) to translate Greek ethikos (see ethics) from Latin mos (genitive moris) "one's disposition," in plural, "mores, customs, manners, morals," of uncertain origin. Perhaps sharing a PIE root with English mood (1).

Meaning "morally good, conforming to moral rules," is first recorded late 14c. of stories, 1630s of persons. Original value-neutral sense preserved in moral support, moral victory (with sense of "pertaining to character as opposed to physical action"). Related: Morally.


"moral exposition of a story," c.1500, from moral (adj.) and from French moral and Late Latin morale.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper