de·​on·​tol·​o·​gy | \ ˌdē-ˌän-ˈtä-lə-jē How to pronounce deontology (audio) \

Definition of deontology

: the theory or study of moral obligation

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from deontology

deontological \ ˌdē-​ˌän-​tə-​ˈlä-​ji-​kəl How to pronounce deontology (audio) \ adjective
deontologist \ ˌdē-​ˌän-​ˈtä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce deontology (audio) \ noun

Examples of deontology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Utilitarianism, which focuses on the consequences of an action, is typically opposed to deontology, which says morality is determined by the act itself. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "Ethicists agree on who gets treated first when hospitals are overwhelmed by coronavirus," 19 Mar. 2020 In essence, deontology explains that lying is always wrong because if everyone lied, human communications would break down entirely. 2. G. James Lemoine, The Conversation, "What’s so wrong about lying in a job interview," 7 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deontology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of deontology

1826, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deontology

Time Traveler for deontology

Time Traveler

The first known use of deontology was in 1826

See more words from the same year

Statistics for deontology

Cite this Entry

“Deontology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deontology


de·​on·​tol·​o·​gy | \ ˌdē-ˌän-ˈtäl-ə-jē How to pronounce deontology (audio) \
plural deontologies

Medical Definition of deontology

: the theory or study of moral obligation

Other Words from deontology

deontological \ ˌdē-​ˌänt-​ᵊl-​ˈäj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce deontology (audio) \ adjective
deontologist \ ˌdē-​ˌän-​ˈtäl-​ə-​jəst How to pronounce deontology (audio) \ noun

Comments on deontology

What made you want to look up deontology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!