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Related to ethics: Business ethics, Professional ethics


a. A set of principles of right conduct.
b. A theory or a system of moral values: "An ethic of service is at war with a craving for gain" (Gregg Easterbrook).
2. ethics (used with a sing. verb) The study of the general nature of morals and of the specific moral choices to be made by a person; moral philosophy.
3. ethics (used with a sing. or pl. verb) The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the members of a profession: medical ethics.

[Middle English ethik, from Old French ethique (from Late Latin ēthica, from Greek ēthika, ethics) and from Latin ēthicē (from Greek ēthikē), both from Greek ēthikos, ethical, from ēthos, character; see s(w)e- in Indo-European roots.]


1. (Philosophy) (functioning as singular) the philosophical study of the moral value of human conduct and of the rules and principles that ought to govern it; moral philosophy. See also meta-ethics
2. (functioning as plural) a social, religious, or civil code of behaviour considered correct, esp that of a particular group, profession, or individual
3. (functioning as plural) the moral fitness of a decision, course of action, etc: he doubted the ethics of their verdict.
ˈethicist, eˈthician n


(ˈɛθ ɪks)

1. (used with a sing. or pl. v.) a system or set of moral principles.
2. (used with a pl. v.) the rules of conduct governing a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.: medical ethics.
3. (usu. used with a sing. v.) the branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of actions and the goodness and badness of motives and ends.
4. (used with a pl. v.) moral principles, as of an individual: His ethics forbade cheating.
[1400–50; modeled on Greek tàēthiká]
eth•i•cist (ˈɛθ ə sɪst) e•thi•cian (ɛˈθɪʃ ən) n.


See also philosophy; values

the state or quality of being without morality or of being indifferent to moral standards. — amoralist, n. — amoral, adj.
the branch of philosophy dealing with values, as those of ethics, aesthetics, or religion. — axiologist, n. — axiological, adj.
1. a person who studies and resolves questions of right and wrong in conduct.
2. an oversubtle or specious reasoner. — casuistic, adj.
1. the branch of ethics or theology that studies the relation of general ethical principles to particular cases of conduct or conscience.
2. a dishonest or oversubtle application of such principles.
the branch of philosophy concerned with ethics, especially that branch dealing with duty, moral obligation, and right action. — deontologist, n. — deontological, adj.
the ethical doctrine that the basis of morality lies in the tendency of right actions to produce happiness, especially in a life governed by reason rather than pleasure. eudemonist, eudaemonist, n.
a branch of philosophy concerned with the foundations of ethics and especially with the definition of ethical terms and the nature of moral discourse.
the practice of morality, as distinct from religion. — moralist, n. — moralistic, adj.
sensualism. — sensationalist, n.
the doctrine that the good is to be judged only by or through the gratifleation of the senses. Also called sensationalism.
the belief or doctrine that the conscience is the repository of the laws of right and wrong. See also health.
the ethical doctrine that virtue is based upon utility and that behavior should have as its goal the procurement of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of persons. — utilitarian, n., adj.


1. 'ethic'

A particular ethic is an idea or moral belief that influences the behaviour and attitudes of a group of people.

...the ethic of public service.
...the Protestant work ethic.
2. 'ethics'

Ethics are moral beliefs and rules about right and wrong. When you use ethics with this meaning, it is a plural noun. You use a plural form of a verb with it.

Such action was a violation of medical ethics.

Ethics is also the study of questions about what is morally right or wrong. When ethics has this meaning, it is an uncount noun. You use a singular form of a verb with it.

We are only too ready to believe that ethics is a field where thinking does no good.
3. 'ethical'

Ethic is never an adjective. The adjective that means 'relating to ethics' is ethical. ethical problem.
He had no real ethical objection to drinking.


The philosophical study of morality in human conduct, and of the rules which ought to govern it.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.ethics - motivation based on ideas of right and wrong
motivation, motive, need - the psychological feature that arouses an organism to action toward a desired goal; the reason for the action; that which gives purpose and direction to behavior; "we did not understand his motivation"; "he acted with the best of motives"
hedonism - the pursuit of pleasure as a matter of ethical principle
conscience, moral sense, scruples, sense of right and wrong - motivation deriving logically from ethical or moral principles that govern a person's thoughts and actions
Christ Within, Inner Light, Light Within, Light - a divine presence believed by Quakers to enlighten and guide the soul
2.ethics - the philosophical study of moral values and rules
egoism - (ethics) the theory that the pursuit of your own welfare in the basis of morality
philosophy - the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics
bioethics - the branch of ethics that studies moral values in the biomedical sciences
casuistry - moral philosophy based on the application of general ethical principles to resolve moral dilemmas
endaemonism, eudemonism - an ethical system that evaluates actions by reference to personal well-being through a life based on reason
hedonism - an ethical system that evaluates the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good
descriptivism - (ethics) a doctrine holding that moral statements have a truth value
prescriptivism - (ethics) a doctrine holding that moral statements prescribe appropriate attitudes and behavior


plural noun moral code, standards, principles, morals, conscience, morality, moral values, moral principles, moral philosophy, rules of conduct, moral beliefs Such an action was a violation of medical ethics.
"True ethics begin where the use of language ceases" [Albert Schweitzer Civilization and Ethics]
آداب، أخْلاقعِلْم الأخْلاق
siîfræîisiîfræîi, siîareglur
ētikaētikas principi
ahlâketiktöre/ahlâk bilimi


A. NSING (= subject) → ética fsing
B. NPL (= honourableness) → moralidad f


n (= moral beliefs) → éthique f
a code of ethics → un code d'éthique medical ethics
npl (= morality) → moralité f


sing (= study, system)Ethik f
pl (= morality)Moral f; the ethics of abortiondie moralischen or ethischen Aspekte plder Abtreibung


[ˈɛθɪks] n (sg, study) → etica; (pl, principles, system) → morale f


(ˈeθiks) noun singular
the study or the science of morals.
noun plural
rules or principles of behaviour.
ˈethical adjective
1. of or concerning morals, justice or duty.
2. (negative unethical) morally right.
ˈethically adverb


n. ética, normas y principios que gobiernan la conducta profesional.
References in classic literature ?
If his ideas were occasionally too clever, and not always consistent with a high sense of honor, she was none the less interested to know the ethics of that world of speculation into which her father had plunged, and the more convinced, with mingled sense of pride and anxiety, that his still dominant gentlemanhood would prevent his coping with it on equal terms.
Nevertheless, time went on; a kind of intimacy, as we have said, grew up between these two cultivated minds, which had as wide a field as the whole sphere of human thought and study to meet upon; they discussed every topic of ethics and religion, of public affairs, and private character; they talked much, on both sides, of matters that seemed personal to themselves; and yet no secret, such as the physician fancied must exist there, ever stole out of the minister's consciousness into his companion's ear.
She had never seen her husband in this mood before; and her gentle system of ethics seemed to bend like a reed in the surges of such passions.
Of the same nature are these other maxims in ethics and politics, that there cannot be an effect without a cause; that the means ought to be proportioned to the end; that every power ought to be commensurate with its object; that there ought to be no limitation of a power destined to effect a purpose which is itself incapable of limitation.
Besides, in what way was this action, which is certainly within the rights of a man's own will, --in what way was it contrary to the ethics of a gentleman?
It was portentous however that they did not laugh aloud, for the brute's act constituted a side-splitting witticism according to the ethics which rule green Martian humor.
By all the ethics of Akut's training and inheritance the unfit should be eliminated; but if The Killer wished this there was nothing to be done about it but to tolerate her.
To this day I have never troubled about the ethics of the matter," he continued.
Irwine's recollections of young enthusiasm and ambition were all associated with poetry and ethics that lay aloof from the Bible.
Grant endeavored to steer a middle course between the mystical doctrines of those sublimated creeds which daily involve their professors in the most absurd contradictions, and those fluent roles of moral government which would reduce the Saviour to a level with the teacher of a school of ethics.
All these, and other wonderful improvements in ethics, religion, and literature, being made plain to my comprehension by the ingenious Mr.
Here lay an ovenful of the latest ethics - there a kettle of dudecimo melanges.