ethical

adjective
eth·​i·​cal | \ ˈe-thi-kəl How to pronounce ethical (audio) \
variants: or less commonly ethic \ ˈe-​thik How to pronounce ethical (audio) \

Essential Meaning of ethical

1 : involving questions of right and wrong behavior : relating to ethics ethical [=moral] principles/standards ethical theories/problems
2 : following accepted rules of behavior : morally right and good Some doctors feel that this procedure is not medically ethical. favoring the ethical [=humane] treatment of animals

Full 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

Other Words from ethical

ethicality \ ˌe-​thə-​ˈka-​lə-​tē How to pronounce ethical (audio) \ noun
ethically \ ˈe-​thi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ethical (audio) \ adverb
ethicalness \ ˈe-​thi-​kəl-​nəs How to pronounce ethical (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 Guerrero, even those who want to be ethical can be forced to forge a truce with the gangs. Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec. 2021 The development of embryo-like models will raise many new ethical questions. Naomi Moris, Wired, 23 Dec. 2021 The 79th Annual Golden Globe nominations were announced Monday, but because of diversity issues and ethical questions raised about the organization behind it, the ceremony doesn't have a network to air the event. Lisa Respers France, CNN, 18 Dec. 2021 This discussion about whether consuming true crime is ethical has expanded beyond the platform as well. Ej Dickson, Rolling Stone, 10 Dec. 2021 But each advance raises a new round of ethical questions about where embryo models end and embryos begin. Megan Molteni, STAT, 5 Dec. 2021 The text messages with DeRosa revealed Monday depict an involvement that raises more serious ethical questions, according to Jane Kirtley, who is the director of the University of Minnesota's Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law. Graham Kates, CBS News, 30 Nov. 2021 This raises a ton of ethical questions about the expo, but also about the process of donating your body for science. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, 12 Nov. 2021 There were also ethical questions about wealthy countries getting a maybe-helpful third dose when many countries hadn’t gotten their definitely-helpful first doses into arms. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, 12 Nov. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near ethical

ethic

ethical

ethical dative

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Statistics for ethical

Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ethical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ethical. Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for ethical

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 ethical (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 ethical (audio) \ adverb

ethical

noun

Medical Definition of ethical (Entry 2 of 2)

: an ethical drug

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ethical

Nglish: Translation of ethical for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ethical for Arabic Speakers

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