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

Changing the description of the fictitious past participants so that they were asked about an unrelated ethical issue reduced the bias to statistically insignificant noise. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "People adopt made-up social rules to be part of a group," 28 Dec. 2018 Like many new technologies that could radically reshape our world, synthetic biology comes with its own unique set of ethical issues, which take on an even sharper edge when the technology has a military application. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The Military Wants to Create Synthetic Life Forms to Track Enemies," 4 Dec. 2018 But none has drawn the fascination — or raised the ethical issues — of Mar-a-Lago, where Trump spends his time mixing work, business and pleasure in the company of dues-paying members. Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, "Trump arrives at his comfort zone at ‘winter White House’," 20 Nov. 2018 Bell said the city's position is the appointments don't present any ethical issues. Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free Press, "Concerns raised about contractors sitting on Detroit wrecking board," 9 July 2018 Worldwide, high schools and colleges could seriously commit to teaching students in AI courses about the ethical issues this new technology raises. The Christian Science Monitor, "AI can have values if not a conscience," 2 July 2018 In the place of traditional education is a class that discusses the ethical and political woes of artificial intelligence—a topic that Musk is deeply concerned about. Don Reisinger, Fortune, "Inside Elon Musk's Ad Astra School Where Grades and Traditional Classes Don't Exist," 26 June 2018 The hearing was the toughest grilling Pruitt has yet faced about ethical issues, ranging from his use of taxpayer money to fly first class to outsized spending on his personal security. NBC News, "Senators grill EPA's Scott Pruitt on spending, security," 16 May 2018 There are major technical and ethical, not to mention financial, barriers to getting at the data our devices and apps collect about us. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "The problem with studies saying phones are bad for you," 5 Dec. 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

20 Jan 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 \

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

Comments on ethical

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