Definition of ethic
1 ethics plural in form but singular or plural in construction : the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation
2a : a set of moral principles : a theory or system of moral values the present-day materialistic ethic an old-fashioned work ethic —often used in plural but singular or plural in construction an elaborate ethics Christian ethicsb ethics plural in form but singular or plural in construction : the principles of conduct governing an individual or a group professional ethicsc : a guiding philosophyd : a consciousness of moral importance forge a conservation ethic
3 ethics plural : a set of moral issues or aspects (such as rightness) debated the ethics of human cloning
Examples of ethic in a Sentence
Ethics is his chosen field of study.
Recent Examples of ethic from the Web
Several lawyers who specialize in family law or legal ethics told The Republic that any attorney who discovers their client misled a court, whether intentionally or not, must inform the judge.
After its evaluation of the complaint, the ethics office can make a recommendation to the House Ethics Committee.
Other payments were more standard compared to previous filings with the ethics commission.
The commission, which investigates government ethics violations, also has the authority to make referrals to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.
This is a guy who has been working quietly for a long time on ethics issues.
Veteran ethics officials called the White House resistance unprecedented, and Democratic lawmakers objected to the move.
Beliles is asking whether that chain of events involving the governor and one of his backers amounts to improper gifts under the ethics code for state officials.
The commission is currently weighing misconduct allegations against San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep, who is accused of 29 violations of judicial ethics rules.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ethic'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Ethics vs Morals: Is there a difference?
Ethics and morals are both used in the plural and are often regarded as synonyms, but there is some distinction in how they are used.
Morals often describes one's particular values concerning what is right and what is wrong:
It would go against my morals to help you cheat on the test.
He appears to view himself as a kind of culture warrior, striking out against the crumbling morals of modern society.
Jonathan Goldsbie, Now Toronto, 16 Oct. 2014
While ethics can refer broadly to moral principles, one often sees it applied to questions of correct behavior within a relatively narrow area of activity:
Our class had a debate over the ethics of genetic testing.
Anybody, it seemed, could make the music -- if they couldn't play guitar, they could push a button -- and nobody worried about the ethics of appropriating riffs.
Jennifer Foote, Newsweek, 23 July 1990
In addition, morals usually connotes an element of subjective preference, while ethics tends to suggest aspects of universal fairness and the question of whether or not an action is responsible:
Perhaps you don’t like Kim Kardashian, or her family, or her morals don’t align with yours, or you just think it’s weird that she might have had some plastic surgery, likes to apply makeup in a really complicated way and named her kid “Saint.”
Sarah Boboltz, The Huffington Post, 12 Oct. 2016
The Frenches, both professors in The Media School, focused on the ethics of making medical decisions for a child who could not express her own wishes yet…
Chris Mura, Indiana Daily Student, 18 Oct. 2016
Origin and Etymology of ethic
Middle English ethik, from Middle French ethique, from Latin ethice, from Greek ēthikē, from ēthikos
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
ETHIC Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ethic for English Language Learners
: rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad
ethics : an area of study that deals with ideas about what is good and bad behavior : a branch of philosophy dealing with what is morally right or wrong
: a belief that something is very important
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