Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin moralis, from mor-, mos custom
Date: 14th century
a. of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior ; ethical <moral judgments> b. expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior <a moral poem> c. conforming to a standard of right behavior d. sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment <a moral obligation> e. capable of right and wrong action <a moral agent> 2. probable though not proved ; virtual <a moral certainty> 3. perceptual or psychological rather than tangible or practical in nature or effect <a moral victory> <moral support> • morally adverb Synonyms: 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>. II. noun Date: 15th century 1. a. the moral significance or practical lesson (as of a story) b. a passage pointing out usually in conclusion the lesson to be drawn from a story 2. plural a. moral practices or teachings ; modes of conduct b. ethics 3. morale
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.