Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character: moral scrutiny; a moral quandary.
  • adj. Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior: a moral lesson.
  • adj. Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous: a moral life.
  • adj. Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong: a moral obligation.
  • adj. Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects: a moral victory; moral support.
  • adj. Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence: a moral certainty.
  • n. The lesson or principle contained in or taught by a fable, a story, or an event.
  • n. A concisely expressed precept or general truth; a maxim.
  • n. Rules or habits of conduct, especially of sexual conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong: a person of loose morals; a decline in the public morals.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behaviour, especially for teaching right behaviour.
  • adj. Conforming to a standard of right behaviour; sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment.
  • adj. Capable of right and wrong action.
  • adj. Probable but not proved.
  • adj. Positively affecting the mind, confidence, or will.
  • n. The ethical significance or practical lesson.
  • n. Moral practices or teachings: modes of conduct.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Relating to duty or obligation; pertaining to those intentions and actions of which right and wrong, virtue and vice, are predicated, or to the rules by which such intentions and actions ought to be directed; relating to the practice, manners, or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, as respects right and wrong, so far as they are properly subject to rules.
  • adj. Conformed to accepted rules of right; acting in conformity with such rules; virtuous; just. Used sometimes in distinction from religious.
  • adj. Capable of right and wrong action or of being governed by a sense of right; subject to the law of duty.
  • adj. Acting upon or through one's moral nature or sense of right, or suited to act in such a manner. Sometimes opposed to material and physical.
  • adj. Supported by reason or probability; practically sufficient; -- opposed to legal or demonstrable
  • adj. Serving to teach or convey a moral
  • n. The doctrine or practice of the duties of life; manner of living as regards right and wrong; conduct; behavior; -- usually in the plural.
  • n. The inner meaning or significance of a fable, a narrative, an occurrence, an experience, etc.; the practical lesson which anything is designed or fitted to teach; the doctrine meant to be inculcated by a fiction; a maxim.
  • n. A morality play. See Morality, 5.
  • intransitive v. To moralize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to rules of right conduct; concerning the distinction of right from wrong; ethical. In this sense moral is opposed to non-moral, which denotes the absence of ethical distinctions.
  • In accord with, or controlled by, the rules of right conduct: opposed to immoral. In this sense moral is often used specifically of conduct in the sexual relation.
  • In a special sense, relating to the private and social duties of men as distinct from civil responsibilities: specifically so used in the Hegelian philosophy.
  • Connected with the perception of right and wrong in conduct, especially when this is regarded as an innate power of the mind; connected with or pertaining to the conscience. See moral sense, moral law, below.
  • Capable of distinguishing between right and wrong; hence, bound to conform to what is right; subject, to a principle of duty; accountable.
  • Depending upon considerations of what generally occurs; resting upon grounds of probability: opposed to demonstrative: as, moral evidence; moral arguments. See moral certainty, under certainty.
  • Of or pertaining to morals.
  • Having a moral; emblematical; allegorical; symbolical.
  • Pertaining to the mind; mental: opposed to physical.
  • Pertaining to the will, or conative element of the soul, as distinguished from the intellect or cognitive part. This refers to the usual pre-Kantian division of the soul.
  • Moralizing.
  • See law.
  • Ethics; the science of morality.
  • n. Morality; the doctrine or practice of the duties of life.
  • n. plural Conduct; behavior; course of life in regard to right and wrong; specifically, sexual conduct: as, a man of good morals.
  • n. Moral philosophy; ethics.
  • n. The doctrine inculcated by a fable, apologue, or fiction; the practical lesson which anything is designed to teach; hence, intent; meaning.
  • n. An emblem, personification, or allegory; especially, an allegorical drama. See morality. 6.
  • n. A certainty.
  • n. An exact likeness; a counterpart.
  • n. Synonyms See morality.
  • n. See inference.
  • To moralize.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the significance of a story or event
  • adj. psychological rather than physical or tangible in effect
  • adj. concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin mōrālis, from mōs, mōr-, custom; see mē-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From French moral, from Latin mōrālis ("relating to manners or morals") (first used by Cicero, to translate Ancient Greek ἠθικός (ēthikos, "moral")), from mos ("manner, custom"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • If we are going to debate the question whether there is a need for moral principles, we need some idea of what we mean by a ˜moral principle™.

    Moral Particularism

  • Assuming an action has moral worth only if it expresses a good will, such actions have no genuine ˜moral worth™.

    Kant's Moral Philosophy

  • What I mean by "Moral Primary" is a moral concept which need not be justified on the basis of any other * moral* premise.

    The Genius of Isaac Bashevis Singer

  • And see you not how the mighty engine of _moral power_ is dragging in its rear the Bible and peace societies, anti-slavery and temperance, sabbath schools, moral reform, and missions? or to adopt another figure, do not these seven philanthropic associations compose the beautiful tints in that bow of promise which spans the arch of our moral heaven?

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 1 of 4

  • _Beautiful_, for instance, is said not only of a successful expression, but also of a scientific truth, of an action successfully achieved, and of a moral action: thus we talk of an _intellectual beauty_, of a _beautiful action_, of a _moral beauty_.

    Aesthetic as Science of Expression and General Linguistic

  • It is the moral strength, or, at any rate, the _moral consciousness_ which struck and surprised me so much in the poems.

    A Writer's Recollections — Volume 1

  • The less complete reaction from sophistic teaching attempted only such reconstruction of the moral point of view as should recover a law or principle of general and universally cogent character, whereon might be built anew a _moral_ order without attempting to extend the inquiry as to a universal principle into the regions of abstract truth or into physics.

    A Short History of Greek Philosophy

  • If such evidences were unequivocal, then indeed the argument which they would establish to an intelligent cause of nature would be almost irresistible; for the fact of the external world being in harmony with the moral nature of man would be unaccountable except on the supposition of both having derived their origin from a common _moral_ source; and morality implies intelligence.

    A Candid Examination of Theism

  • "What is the moral of it?" drawled Mrs. Cathcart, with the first syllable of _moral_ very long and very gentle.

    Adela Cathcart, Volume 1

  • Wishing to give to the moral law a _religious_ character, we run the risk of taking from it its _moral_ character.

    Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Money gestures. Which is nothing if you've got the stuff to burn. Besides, it doesn't work. Money's not legal tender in the moral world. From "The Last Werewolf" by Glen Duncan.

    March 19, 2012