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

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 Cash, played with laconic charm by Stanfield, is a relatable hero, but Detroit is ill-served by Riley’s script, existing primarily to explain the film’s heavier themes and scold her boyfriend for his ethical lapses. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Is Fizzy, Flawed, and Fascinating," 6 July 2018 But in the current climate, any shred of reason, the merest hint of ethical behavior, glows like the torch of the Statue of Liberty. Lynn Yaeger, Vogue, "Senator John McCain Is Dead at Age 81," 26 Aug. 2018 Which is not to say that ratings are the perfect arbiters of ethical behavior. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "The Good and Bad of Ride-Sharing When It Comes to Race," 11 July 2018 Are real names essential for more ethical behavior online? Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Fog Creek Software CEO Anil Dash answers all the questions on Too Embarrassed to Ask," 8 July 2018 Twitter should certainly enforce its rules fairly and demand ethical behavior from its users. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Was it right to dox Stephen Miller? That’s the wrong question," 27 June 2018 And your commitment to this high standard of ethical behavior and integrity will be tested. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Rex Tillerson is just the latest Trump aide to speak out after getting fired," 18 May 2018 Tamping down the industry’s most extreme excesses through prudent regulation, including the occasional sweeping fine, might encourage more ethical behavior. Jacob Silverman, Longreads, "Searching for a Future Beyond Facebook," 2 May 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

6 Jan 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

Comments on ethical

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