[mawr-uhl, mor-]
See more synonyms for moral on
  1. of, relating to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical: moral attitudes.
  2. expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work.
  3. founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom: moral obligations.
  4. capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct: a moral being.
  5. conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to immoral): a moral man.
  6. virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
  7. of, relating to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character: moral support.
  8. resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual: a moral certainty.
  1. the moral teaching or practical lesson contained in a fable, tale, experience, etc.
  2. the embodiment or type of something.
  3. morals, principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct.

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

See more synonyms for on
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. 2018

Examples from the Web for morals

Contemporary Examples of morals

Historical Examples of morals

  • They wanted me to be shackled: for early did they doubt my morals, as to the sex.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Between righteousness and morals the difference is important.

  • Morals stand for a code of observances; righteousness for a direction of the life.

  • You might say that a standard of morals is entirely a matter of opinion.

  • With morals in this accepted American sense righteousness has little to do.

British Dictionary definitions for morals


  1. concerned with or relating to human behaviour, esp the distinction between good and bad or right and wrong behaviourmoral sense
  2. adhering to conventionally accepted standards of conduct
  3. based on a sense of right and wrong according to consciencemoral courage; moral law
  4. having psychological rather than tangible effectsmoral support
  5. having the effects but not the appearance of (victory or defeat)a moral victory; a moral defeat
  6. having a strong probabilitya moral certainty
  7. law (of evidence, etc) based on a knowledge of the tendencies of human nature
  1. the lesson to be obtained from a fable or eventpoint the moral
  2. a concise truth; maxim
  3. (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 morals

"a person's moral qualities," 1610s, plural of moral (n.).



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