adjective mor·al \ˈmr-əl, ˈmär-\

: concerning or relating to what is right and wrong in human behavior

: based on what you think is right and good

: considered right and good by most people : agreeing with a standard of right behavior

Full Definition of MORAL

a :  of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior :  ethical <moral judgments>
b :  expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior <a moral poem>
c :  conforming to a standard of right behavior
d :  sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment <a moral obligation>
e :  capable of right and wrong action <a moral agent>
:  probable though not proved :  virtual <a moral certainty>
:  perceptual or psychological rather than tangible or practical in nature or effect <a moral victory> <moral support>
mor·al·ly \-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of MORAL

  1. The author avoids making moral judgments.
  2. Each story teaches an important moral lesson.
  3. He felt that he had a moral obligation to help the poor.
  4. We're confident she has the moral fiber to make the right decision.
  5. Their behavior was not moral.
  6. Animals are not moral creatures and are not responsible for their actions.
  7. Nor did these lawyers and bankers walk about suffused with guilt. They had the moral equivalent of teflon on their soul. Church on Sunday, foreclose on Monday. —Norman Mailer, New York Review of Books, 27 March 2002

Origin of MORAL

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin moralis, from mor-, mos custom
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of MORAL

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


noun mor·al \ˈmr-əl, ˈmär-; 3 is mə-ˈral\

: a lesson that is learned from a story or an experience

morals : proper ideas and beliefs about how to behave in a way that is considered right and good by most people

Full Definition of MORAL

a :  the moral (see 1moral) significance or practical lesson (as of a story)
b :  a passage pointing out usually in conclusion the lesson to be drawn from a story
a :  moral practices or teachings :  modes of conduct
b :  ethics
:  morale

Examples of MORAL

  1. The moral of the story is to be satisfied with what you have.
  2. The moral here is: pay attention to the warning lights in your car.
  3. Socrates was accused of corrupting the morals of the youth of Athens.
  4. The author points to recent cases of fraud as evidence of the lack of morals in the business world.

Origin of MORAL

(see 1moral)
First Known Use: 15th century

Other Literature Terms

apophasis, bathos, bildungsroman, bowdlerize, caesura, coda, doggerel, euphemism, poesy, prosody
May 30, 2015
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