English Dictionary

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Definitions of ethics

ethics (ˈɛθɪks



  1. (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

Derived Forms

ˈethicist, or eˈthician  noun


View thesaurus entry
= moral code, standards, principles, morals, conscience, morality, moral values, moral principles, moral philosophy, rules of conduct, moral beliefs, tikanga (New Zealand)

Quotations including 'ethics'

  • "True ethics begin where the use of language ceases" [Albert Schweitzer

ethic (ˈɛθɪk



  1. a moral principle or set of moral values held by an individual or group   ⇒  ■ the Puritan ethic



  1. another word for ethical

Word Origin

C15: from Latin ēthicus, from Greek ēthikos, from ēthos custom; see ethos

Translations for 'ethics'

  • British English: ethics Ethics are moral beliefs and rules about right and wrong. NOUNIts members are bound by a rigid code of ethics which includes confidentiality.
  • Brazilian Portuguese: moral
  • Chinese: 伦理伦倫理
  • European Spanish: ética
  • French: déontologie
  • German: Moral
  • Italian: etica
  • Japanese: 倫理
  • Korean: 도덕 윤리
  • Portuguese: moral
  • Spanish: ética

Example Sentences Including 'ethics'

He lent me a book about art and ethics by the British philosopher Hume.
Anita Anderson SUMMER OF SECRETS (2003)
This manipulation of masses of people was an unforgivable violation of his cetic ethics.
Zindell, David The Broken God
However, my sympathy didn't override my professional ethics.
Val McDermid DEAD BEAT (2002)


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