moral

moral adj Moral, ethical, virtuous, righteous, noble are comparable when they mean conforming to a standard of what is right and good.
Moral is the most comprehensive term of the group; in all of its pertinent senses it implies a relationship to character or conduct viewed as good or bad or as right or wrong. Sometimes moral implies relationship to or concern with character or conduct as distinguished especially from intellectual or physical nature
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moral goodness may be distinguished from intellectual goodness or spiritual goodness

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the whole tendency of modern thought ... is to extenuate the responsibility of human nature, not merely on the moral side, but equally on the spiritual sideMackenzie

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we find ourselves confronted with a most disturbing moral problem . . . those situations, now of such frequent occurrence, in which good means have end results which turn out to be bad— Huxley

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Moral also applies to such things as literary works, works of art, and philosophies, or to writers, artists, and philosophers concerned with the determination or teaching of principles of right conduct or good living
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a moral tale

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moral essays

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paintings that convey a moral lesson

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tragedy . . . hath been ever held the gravest, moralest, and most profitable of all other poems— Milton

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The term also applies to men or communities, to acts, or to conduct in the sense of conforming to the accepted standard of what is right and good, often specifically in sexual conduct, or of conforming to the customs or conventions of a people regarded as binding laws
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lead a moral life

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a man of high moral character

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the moral ideals of the community

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I had a character who was ambitious, yet in his own way, moral, and with such a character one could travel deep into the paradoxes of the time— Mailer

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his nature was purely sensuous, and she strove to make him moral, religious— D. H. Lawrence

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Ethical primarily implies a relationship to ethics, the branch of philosophy which deals with moral principles, or more specifically with the principles governing ideal human character and with the ideal ends of human action
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an ethical system

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an ethical code

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Although ethical is often used interchangeably with moral, it characteristically gives a slightly different impression owing to certain subtle connotations; thus, ethical principles may, according to the context, convey a strong suggestion of principles derived from a certain school of ethics, or of a formulated code behind them, or of an idealistic quality; an action is often described as ethical rather than moral when it accords with what the writer or speaker believes to be a higher or finer standard of morality than the one generally accepted, or when it is in keeping with the code of ethics governing a profession (especially law and medicine); the phrase "an ethical person" often differs from the phrase "a moral person," in suggesting an assent to ethical principles or an attention to the niceties of ethics or to the ideal ends suggested by a system or code of ethics
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meanwhile we hear ... the ethical instinct of mankind asserting itself with splendid courage and patience— van Dyke

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Virtuous implies the possession or manifestation of moral excellence in character; in its most general sense it implies rectitude, justice, integrity, and all other virtues, but in more restrictive use and especially as applied to women, it often means little more than chasteness or perfect fidelity in marriage
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poor people . . . whether they be lazy or busy, drunken or sober, virtuous or vicious— Shaw

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her life had been virtuous, her dedication to innocence had been unswerving— Cheever

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a man might grind the faces of the poor; but so long as he refrained from caressing his neighbors' wives and daughters, he was regarded as virtuousHuxley

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Righteous differs from virtuous chiefly in its stronger implication of freedom from guilt or blame; as applied to persons, it often implies justification, especially worthiness of salvation in the theological sense
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I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance— Mk 2:17

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what but thy malice moved thee to misdeem of righteous Job— Milton

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As applied to acts, conduct, and even displays of passion, it usually implies justifiability and often consciousness of rectitude
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righteous indignation

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But righteous is the one of these words that is freely used in a worsened sense to imply an invalid and sanctimonious assumption of the appearance of rectitude
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left most of the work to his assistants . . . and when he found that they were doing as they pleased, he was not righteous nor rebuking— Sinclair Lewis

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meets the resultant gossip, and the ruin of Lily's reputation, with a righteous indifference to either its unfairness or his share in itHarper's Bazaar

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Noble (see also GRAND) applies to persons, their acts, utterances, careers, or lives, and implies the possession and exhibition of a conspicuously high character. Often the word carries no other clear implications and seems little more than a term of high praise implying moral or ethical eminence
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that noble passion for human rights and civil liberties possessed by . . . judicial libertarians— Gressman

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a noble aim, faithfully kept, is as a noble deed—Wordsworth

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At other times the term suggests not only moral eminence but the absence of all taint of any such petty or dubious thing as self-seeking, self-interest, or concern for the world's standards; it then often suggests independence, or magnanimity, or high courage, or some other outstanding moral excellence
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this was the noblest Roman of them all. All the conspirators, save only he, did that they did in envy of great Caesar; he only, in a general honest thought and common good to all— Shak.

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the disinterested search for truth is certainly one of the highest and noblest careers that a man can choose— Inge

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Analogous words: right, *good: *upright, honest, just, honorable, scrupulous, conscientious: *chaste, pure, modest, decent: ideal, *abstract
Contrasted words: *immoral, unmoral, amoral, nonmoral

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Moral — Moral …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • moral — moral, ale, aux [ mɔral, o ] adj. et n. m. • 1270; n. m. 1212; lat. moralis, de mores « mœurs » I ♦ Adj. 1 ♦ Qui concerne les mœurs, les habitudes et surtout les règles de conduite admises et pratiquées dans une société. Conscience morale. Sens… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Moral — Mor al, a. [F., fr. It. moralis, fr. mos, moris, manner, custom, habit, way of life, conduct.] 1. Relating to duty or obligation; pertaining to those intentions and actions of which right and wrong, virtue and vice, are predicated, or to the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Moral — bezeichnet zumeist die faktischen Handlungsmuster, konventionen, regeln oder prinzipien bestimmter Individuen, Gruppen oder Kulturen. So verstanden, sind die Ausdrücke Moral, Ethos oder Sitte weitgehend gleichbedeutend und werden beschreibend… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • moral — moral, ale (mo ral, ra l ) adj. 1°   Qui concerne les moeurs. Préceptes moraux. Réflexions morales. Les oeuvres morales de Plutarque. Sens, instinct moral.    Contes moraux, contes où l auteur a l intention de faire ressortir une leçon de morale …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • moral — MORÁL, Ă, morali, e, adj., s.n. I. adj. 1. Care aparţine moralei, conduitei admise şi practicate într o societate, care se referă la morală; etic; care este conform cu morala; cinstit, bun; moralicesc. ♦ Care conţine o învăţătură; moralizator. 2 …   Dicționar Român

  • moral — mòrāl m <G morála> DEFINICIJA 1. shvaćanje odnosa prema dobru i zlu u najširem smislu; ukupnost nepisanih društvenih načela, normi, ideala, običaja o ponašanju i odnosima među ljudima koji se nameću savjesti pojedinca i zajednice, u skladu… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • moral — adjetivo 1. De las costumbres o formas de comportamiento humanas: valor moral, reglas morales, superioridad moral. 2. Que no se funda en pruebas objetivas, sino en la conciencia de cada individuo: Tenías la obligación moral de pagar. 3.… …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • moral — [môr′əl, mär′əl; ] for n.4 [, mə ral′] adj. [ME < L moralis, of manners or customs < mos (gen. moris), pl. mores, manners, morals (see MOOD1): used by CICERO2 as transl. of Gr ēthikos] 1. relating to, dealing with, or capable of making the… …   English World dictionary

  • moral — I adjective aboveboard, bene moratus, bound by duty, commendable, conscientious, correct, creditable, decent, deserving, duteous, dutiful, estimable, ethical, exemplary, good, high minded, high principled, honest, honestus, honorable, idealistic …   Law dictionary

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