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

Stephen Schwarzman has given Oxford University $188.6 million for a new institute that will study the ethical implications of computing technologies. BostonGlobe.com, "US CEO hands Oxford University $189 million for AI studies," 20 June 2019 However, he has been banned from holding any official role in soccer since the world-wide investigations into corruption and ethical misdeeds at FIFA in 2015. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Ex-UEFA President Michel Platini Detained in Qatar World Cup Probe," 18 June 2019 That review did not specifically address Yan or the FBI probe, but working for both CCC and the building department could be an ethical minefield. Emily Alpert Reyes, latimes.com, "She worked for L.A.’s building department. Then her name came up in an FBI warrant," 17 June 2019 During the trial witnesses testified that members who displeased Mr. Raniere were said to have committed ethical breaches and were subjected to punishment. Colin Moynihan, New York Times, "Nxivm Trial: Sex Cult Was Like ‘Horror Movie’ Prosecutor Says," 17 June 2019 For software, the Pentagon has urged Silicon Valley and other tech firms to overcome their ethical quandaries and help shield American forces from cyber-attacks, or develop machine learning to support them on the battlefield. The Economist, "The UTC-Raytheon deal highlights the changing nature of war," 14 June 2019 How does this ethical quandary play into the film's developing story? Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "I Am Mother envisions a dark future world where AI is almost human," 13 June 2019 Color-blindness is the very ethical aspiration that has enabled racial progress. Sahil Handa, National Review, "Why I’m No Longer Talking to Anyone about Anything," 13 June 2019 Here, Wendy’s dealing with the fall-out of her choice to breach serious ethical boundaries and manipulate her patient, Taylor (Asia Kate Dillon). Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "Could Billions Really Be Setting Up A Bobby & Wendy Affair?," 10 June 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

23 Jun 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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