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 In coming years, a fact-optional approach to addressing climate change could prove disastrous, as might ignoring the ethical and health consequences of humankind’s exploitative relationship with nonhuman animals. Tom Saler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Tom Saler: COVID-19 recession exposed cracks in the nation’s economic foundation that were long ignored," 20 June 2020 Sure enough, there were intense political arguments over the washing-up roster and ethical debates over how and whether to murder the terrier-sized rats that kept rooting around the bins. Laurie Penny, Wired, "Live Wrong and Prosper: Covid-19 and the Future of Families," 18 June 2020 While this encounter ended well, the message had been delivered: congressional Republicans did not care about the ethical risks posed by Trump’s financial interests. Walter M. Shaub Jr., The New York Review of Books, "Ransacking the Republic," 17 June 2020 Communities United Against Police Brutality wants officers to have psychological screenings at least every three years and limits on how many hours officers can work in a shift, arguing ethical lapses will drop when police aren't exhausted. Fox News, "How fired police get rehired: Discipline challenges emerge in appeals process," 17 June 2020 Drawing on their core values of sustainable consumption and ethical business, the women launched a weekly newsletter after working from home became the new normal, involving their entire team in its creation. Lindsey Tramuta, Bloomberg.com, "Four Ways to Preserve Company Culture as Work From Home Continues," 15 June 2020 Military analysts say the reactions by Milley and Esper indicate Pentagon officials are finding their ethical footing. Michael Collins, USA TODAY, "Trump heads to West Point amid tension with top military brass and a nation whipsawed by racial tension," 13 June 2020 Your guy doesn’t sound compliant – to any particular social, ethical or relationship construct. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Distance and disease rattle relationship," 12 June 2020 Your guy doesn’t sound compliant — to any particular social, ethical or relationship construct. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Relationship strained by distance and virus concerns," 12 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for ethical

Time Traveler

The first known use of ethical was circa 1573

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Statistics for ethical

Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ethical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethical. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for ethical

ethical

adjective
How to pronounce ethical (audio)

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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