ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal | \ ˈe-thi-kəl \
variants: or less commonly ethic \ ˈe-​thik \

Definition of ethical

1 : of or relating to ethics ethical theories
2 : involving or expressing moral approval or disapproval ethical judgments
3 : conforming to accepted standards of conduct ethical behavior
4 of a drug : restricted to sale only on a doctor's prescription

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Other Words from ethical

ethicality \ ˌe-​thə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē \ noun
ethically \ ˈe-​thi-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb
ethicalness \ ˈe-​thi-​kəl-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of ethical in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples on the Web

Success on these issues is more important than any one person, Price's downfall occurred more rapidly than that of some other top aides to Trump, who held their grip on power after evidence of ethical lapses first appeared. Amy Goldstein And Mark Berman, chicagotribune.com, "Former HHS secretary Tom Price's air travel wasted $341,000 in government funds, watchdog says," 13 July 2018 Pruitt left office Thursday after questions of lavish spending, mismanagement, and ethical lapses. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "The Future of Former EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's Anti-Science Legacy," 6 July 2018 Pruitt, in appearances before congressional hearings this spring, has denied responsibility for any ethical lapses, saying subordinates made those decisions. Edmund Demarche, Fox News, "EPA's Pruitt confronted by teacher at Washington restaurant, report says," 3 July 2018 However, apps like BiAffect that passively collect data come with a host of ethical concerns, mostly related to privacy. Laine Higgins, WSJ, "Can Typos Give Insight Into Your Mental Health?," 11 Oct. 2018 But many of those animals don’t naturally develop the same diseases as humans, so the ailments have to be created through genetic manipulation or other means, some of which raise ethical concerns. Karen Weintraub, New York Times, "Doctor, Your Patient Is Waiting. It’s a Red Panda.," 29 June 2018 The Amazon employees’ letter is the latest in a trend of employees at large tech companies sharing ethical concerns about the use of products. Sarah Gray, Fortune, "Amazon Employees Want Jeff Bezos to Stop Selling Rekognition to Law Enforcement, According to Report," 22 June 2018 Last month, amid those and other ethical concerns, NIH suspended enrollment in the multicenter clinical trial, called MACH15. Sharon Begley, STAT, "Controversial NIH study of ‘moderate drinking’ will be terminated after scathing report," 15 June 2018 Probes include reviews of his travel expenses, personal security and other allegations of ethical concerns, such as Pruitt's below-market-rate lease with a lobbyist couple, one of whom represented a client before the EPA. Maegan Vazquez, CNN, "WaPo: Pruitt enlisted EPA aide, donors to find his wife a job," 13 June 2018

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

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First Known Use of ethical

circa 1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ethical

Middle English etik, from Latin ethicus, from Greek ēthikos, from ēthos character — more at sib

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Statistics for ethical

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ethical

The first known use of ethical was circa 1573

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More Definitions for ethical

ethical

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of ethical

: involving questions of right and wrong behavior : relating to ethics
: following accepted rules of behavior : morally right and good

ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal | \ ˈe-thi-kəl \

Kids Definition of ethical

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

ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal | \ ˈeth-i-kəl \
variants: also ethic \ -​ik \

Medical Definition of ethical

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct
2 of a drug : restricted to sale only on a doctor's prescription

Other Words from ethical

ethically \ ˈeth-​i-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

ethical

noun

Medical Definition of ethical (Entry 2 of 2)

: an ethical drug

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ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal | \ ˈe-thi-kəl \

Legal Definition of ethical

1 : of or relating to ethics
2 : conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct

Other Words from ethical

ethically adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on ethical

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ethical

Spanish Central: Translation of ethical

Nglish: Translation of ethical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ethical for Arabic Speakers

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