ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal | \ ˈe-thi-kəl How to pronounce ethical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ethic \ ˈe-​thik How to pronounce ethic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ethicality (audio) \ noun
ethically \ ˈe-​thi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ethically (audio) \ adverb
ethicalness \ ˈe-​thi-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce ethicalness (audio) \ 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

Some also argue that allowing weapons to decide to kill violates the ethical and legal norms governing the use of force on the battlefield since the horrors of World War II. The Atlantic, "Coming Soon to a Battlefield: Robots That Can Kill," 3 Sep. 2019 Patients have a right to expect high ethical standards from those who supply their medicines. The Economist, "Legal settlements alone will not solve America’s opioid crisis," 29 Aug. 2019 But there are also a slew of ethical and security concerns to killing the physical wallet and keys. Mike Murphy, Quartz, "Apple is going to be the company that kills the wallet," 17 Aug. 2019 In exchange for meeting the groups' ethical standards, farmers are paid as much as 10 percent more for their cocoa. Peter Whoriskey, oregonlive, "Much of the chocolate you buy — including from Hershey — starts with child labor," 6 June 2019 In exchange for meeting the groups' ethical standards, farmers are paid as much as 10 percent more for their cocoa. Peter Whoriskey, Anchorage Daily News, "Much of the chocolate you buy starts with child labor," 6 June 2019 Wipro is an exemplar of a successful, (an) ethical and a socially responsible organisation. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz India, "Azim Premji: India’s second-richest man owns a second-hand car and a generous heart," 6 June 2019 All the products are ethical in some way—which is in keeping with Jenna's interest in veganism and sustainability. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "How Jenna Dewan Gets the Perfect Beachy Wave With Ethical Hair Products," 29 Aug. 2019 How much freedom people have to choose what is ethical reflects their broader understandings of their relationships with others. Alice Rudge, Quartz, "Why we laugh when we know we shouldn’t," 28 Aug. 2019

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

15 Sep 2019

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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 How to pronounce ethical (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ethical (audio) \
variants: also ethic \ -​ik How to pronounce ethic (audio) \

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 How to pronounce ethically (audio) \ 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 How to pronounce ethical (audio) \

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

Comments on ethical

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