mo·​ral·​i·​ty | \ mə-ˈra-lə-tē How to pronounce morality (audio) , mȯ- \
plural moralities

Definition of morality

1a : a moral discourse, statement, or lesson ended his lecture with a trite morality
b : a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson "Aesop's Fables" is famous as a morality.
2a : a doctrine or system of moral conduct the basic law which an adequate morality ought to state— Marjorie Grene
b moralities plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct we were all brought up on one of these moralitiesPsychiatry
3 : conformity to ideals of right human conduct admitted the expediency of the law but questioned its morality
4 : moral conduct : virtue morality today involves a responsible relationship toward the laws of the natural world— P. B. Sears

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Examples of morality in a Sentence

The group is calling for a return to traditional morality. two groups with clashing moralities The decision may be legally justified, but I question its morality.
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Recent Examples on the Web Spenser books are always a lot about morality and dealing with the corrupt. al, "Ace Atkins talks true crime, Spenser’s hidden Auburn connection," 20 Jan. 2021 Citizens in a democratic society do not need to agree about political morality. Michael Blake, The Conversation, "Is impeaching President Trump ‘pointless revenge’? Not if it sends a message to future presidents," 13 Jan. 2021 The big debates over political journalism in the Trump years were about morality. New York Times, "They Seem to Think the Next Four Years Will Be Normal," 3 Jan. 2021 But if economists have lost interest in questions of morality, and prefer instead to model worlds in which people act strictly in their own self-interest, moral forces still matter for economics. The Economist, "Why two former central bankers are talking about trust," 20 Mar. 2021 Since people consider matters of morality as objective, absolute and beyond compromise, attaching strong moral significance to every point of disagreement and difference makes tolerance almost impossible. Kumar Yogeeswaran, Scientific American, "The U.S. Needs Tolerance more than Unity," 2 Mar. 2021 Well, his lack of morality, his total disinterest in being fair, maybe a touch of early Alzheimer’s, and his cruelty. Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, "Frank Langella feels the power — and its abuse — in playing the ‘Chicago 7' judge," 21 Feb. 2021 And the real-life story of Holiday, which tragically resonates all the more now in the era of Black Lives Matter, stands out as a morality tale in which artistic triumph and personal tragedy are cast as equals. George Varga, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Andra Day is riveting in wildly ambitious film ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday’," 26 Feb. 2021 They're governed by their emotions, by their blithe morality and belief in their precious indispensability. Elliot Ackerman, Wired, "2034, Part IV: The Spratly Islands Ambush," 16 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'morality.' 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 morality

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for morality

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The first known use of morality was in the 14th century

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Statistics for morality

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Morality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for morality



English Language Learners Definition of morality

: beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior
: the degree to which something is right and good : the moral goodness or badness of something


mo·​ral·​i·​ty | \ mə-ˈra-lə-tē How to pronounce morality (audio) \
plural moralities

Kids Definition of morality

1 : the quality or fact of being in agreement with ideals of right behavior We discussed the morality of lying so a person's feelings aren't hurt.
2 : beliefs about what kind of behavior is good or bad A society's morality may change.

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