morality play


Definition of morality play

1 : an allegorical play popular especially in the 15th and 16th centuries in which the characters personify abstract qualities or concepts (such as virtues, vices, or death)
2 : something (such as a court trial) which involves a direct conflict between right and wrong or good and evil and from which a moral lesson may be drawn

Examples of morality play in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

If slasher films are morality plays born out of America’s latent Puritanical values, Halloween is the film that codified it all. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The new Halloween is a slasher movie with an actual message," 19 Oct. 2018 The tone and substance toggle abruptly among satire, melodrama and morality play. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: ‘Trust’ Is Flashy but Ephemeral," 22 Mar. 2018 It was also praised on Gab, a social network popular with the alt-right—a loose agglomeration of groups with far-right ideologies—as a morality play about a downtrodden Aryan warrior. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "Making Movies in the Trump Era for the Audience Hollywood Ignored," 15 May 2018 And as a result, the morality play scheduled for Rowan County this fall has been canceled. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, "Gay candidate's election loss more about local politics than Kim Davis," 23 May 2018 As his senior season winds down, Heimlich has been cast as the central figure in a morality play. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Should Oregon State pitcher who molested niece play? Not if he continues to deny crime," 23 May 2018 The Clippers’ players had been caught up in a firestorm and were navigating both a playoff series as well as a public morality play. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Road Warriors face challenge of winning in enemy territory," 13 May 2018 Here is the true tragedy in this sad morality play. Robert L. Woodson Sr., WSJ, "Starbucks Is Not the Next Selma," 29 Apr. 2018 Hill's testimony, which was watched by more than 20 million households and argued over in diners, taverns and classrooms, spooled out in a morality play rife with stunning moments that sullied the decorum of one of the nation's highest offices. Jeffrey Fleishman,, "Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before Congress has the makings of riveting televised political drama," 9 Apr. 2018

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

1866, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near morality play




morality play


moral law


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Time Traveler for morality play

The first known use of morality play was in 1866

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with morality play Encyclopedia article about morality play

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one that collects or salvages junk

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