ethical

adjective

eth·​i·​cal ˈe-thi-kəl How to pronounce ethical (audio)
variants or less commonly ethic
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
ethicality noun
ethically adverb
ethicalness 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 The Australian actor paired his black trousers and white jacket and shirt with Chopard’s Alpine Eagle 41 Frozen watch (made with ethical 18-karat white gold and set with diamonds and sapphires) along with diamond cufflinks set in ethical 18-karat white gold. Nicole Fell, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 May 2024 Another finding is executive and senior leaders are 2.6 times more likely to say their company has a strong ethical culture than individual contributors and front-line employees. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 14 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for ethical 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ethical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

circa 1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of ethical was circa 1573

Dictionary Entries Near ethical

Cite this Entry

“Ethical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethical. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal ˈeth-i-kəl How to pronounce ethical (audio)
1
: of or relating to ethics
2
a
: following accepted rules of conduct
b
: following professional standards of conduct
3
: sold only on a doctor's prescription
ethical drugs
ethically adverb

Medical Definition

ethical

1 of 2 adjective
eth·​i·​cal ˈeth-i-kəl How to pronounce ethical (audio)
variants also ethic
1
: conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct
2
of a drug : restricted to sale only on a doctor's prescription
ethically adverb

ethical

2 of 2 noun
: an ethical drug

Legal Definition

ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal ˈe-thi-kəl How to pronounce ethical (audio)
1
: of or relating to ethics
2
: conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct
ethically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ethical

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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