adjective eth·i·cal \ˈe-thi-kəl\

: involving questions of right and wrong behavior : relating to ethics

: following accepted rules of behavior : morally right and good

Full Definition of ETHICAL

:  of or relating to ethics <ethical theories>
:  involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval <ethical judgments>
:  conforming to accepted standards of conduct <ethical behavior>
of a drug :  restricted to sale only on a doctor's prescription
eth·i·cal·i·ty \ˌe-thə-ˈka-lə-tē\ noun
eth·i·cal·ly \ˈe-thi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
eth·i·cal·ness \-kəl-nəs\ noun

Variants of ETHICAL

eth·i·cal also eth·ic \-thik\

Examples of ETHICAL

  1. Some doctors feel that this procedure is not medically ethical.
  2. <the ethical behavior expected of every member of the police force>

Origin of ETHICAL

Middle English etik, from Latin ethicus, from Greek ēthikos, from ēthos character — more at sib
First Known Use: 1588

Synonym Discussion of ETHICAL

moral, ethical, virtuous, righteous, noble mean conforming to a standard of what is right and good. moral implies conformity to established sanctioned codes or accepted notions of right and wrong <the basic moral values of a community>. ethical may suggest the involvement of more difficult or subtle questions of rightness, fairness, or equity <committed to the highest ethical principles>. virtuous implies moral excellence in character <not a religious person, but virtuous nevertheless>. righteous stresses guiltlessness or blamelessness and often suggests the sanctimonious <wished to be righteous before God and the world>. noble implies moral eminence and freedom from anything petty, mean, or dubious in conduct and character <had the noblest of reasons for seeking office>.

Other Philosophy Terms

dialectic, dualism, epistemology, existentialism, metaphysics, ontology, sequitur, solipsism, transcendentalism
ETHICALLY Defined for Kids


adjective eth·i·cal \ˈe-thi-kəl\

Definition of ETHICAL for Kids

:  involving questions of right and wrong :  relating to ethics <ethical issues>
:  following accepted rules of behavior <We expect ethical treatment of animals.>


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