What does ethical mean?

Definitions for ethical
ˈɛθ ɪ kəleth·i·cal

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word ethical.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ethicaladjective

    of or relating to the philosophical study of ethics

    "ethical codes"; "ethical theories"

  2. ethicaladjective

    conforming to accepted standards of social or professional behavior

    "an ethical lawyer"; "ethical medical practice"; "an ethical problem"; "had no ethical objection to drinking"; "Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants"- Omar N. Bradley

  3. ethical, honorable, honourableadjective

    adhering to ethical and moral principles

    "it seems ethical and right"; "followed the only honorable course of action"


  1. ethicalnoun

    An ethical drug.

  2. ethicaladjective

    Of or relating to the study of ethics.

    The philosopher Kant is particularly known for his ethical writings.

  3. ethicaladjective

    Of or relating to the accepted principles of right and wrong, especially those of some organization or profession.

    All employees must familiarize themselves with our ethical guidelines.

  4. ethicaladjective

    Morally approvable, when referring to an action that affects others; good.

    We are trying to decide what the most ethical course of action would be.

  5. ethicaladjective

    Only dispensed on the prescription of a physician.

    In most jurisdictions, morphine is classified as an ethical drug.

  6. Etymology: From ethic + -al, from ethicus, from ἠθικός, from ἦθος.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. ETHICALadjective

    Moral; treating on morality.

    Etymology: ἤϑιϰος.


  1. ethical

    Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that "involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior". The field of ethics, along with aesthetics, concerns matters of value; these fields comprise the branch of philosophy called axiology.Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. As a field of intellectual inquiry, moral philosophy is related to the fields of moral psychology, descriptive ethics, and value theory. Three major areas of study within ethics recognized today are: Meta-ethics, concerning the theoretical meaning and reference of moral propositions, and how their truth values (if any) can be determined; Normative ethics, concerning the practical means of determining a moral course of action; Applied ethics, concerning what a person is obligated (or permitted) to do in a specific situation or a particular domain of action.


  1. ethical

    Ethical refers to principles of right or wrong that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity. It pertains to accepted standards of conduct based on concepts of morality, fairness, respect, and honesty. Ethical principles are used to guide choices in diverse settings, such as personal decisions, professional practice, and institutional policies.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ethicaladjective

    of, or belonging to, morals; treating of the moral feelings or duties; containing percepts of morality; moral; as, ethic discourses or epistles; an ethical system; ethical philosophy

  2. Etymology: [L. ethicus, Gr. , fr. custom, usage, character, dwelling; akin to custom, Goth. sidus, G. sitte, Skr. svadh, prob. orig., one's own doing; sva self + dh to set: cf. F. thique. See So, Do.]

Editors Contribution

  1. ethical

    Compliant with ethics.

    The company choose to be ethical in how they work with their supply networks to ensure all within the supply network have a fair price for their produce.

    Submitted by MaryC on July 17, 2020  

  2. ethical

    Relating to ethics.

    Ethical choices are easy as we are united as one connected humanity so we look after each other and provide support where necessary and vital/

    Submitted by MaryC on March 12, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'ethical' in Adjectives Frequency: #954

How to pronounce ethical?

How to say ethical in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ethical in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ethical in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of ethical in a Sentence

  1. Mark Warwick:

    I think people need to understand the complexity, the volume and the geography aspects of this, and you can't underestimate putting those three factors together and trying to conduct ethical investigations, over the next 12 to 18 months, we will review all the caseload to better understand the picture and then I think we can say whether 2019 seems realistic.

  2. Maxim Behar:

    One of the things which has been and is going to be of key importance before, during, and after the pandemic is total transparency. Thanks to total transparency, business, and life itself, is becoming more ethical, better organized, and make more sense.

  3. William Malone:

    We are dealing with what may be the biggest medical and ethical scandal of modern times, transgender medicine is big business, and youth who are transitioning today will be medical patients for life, for the next 60-plus years. Mental health among youth is at an all-time low, making them particularly vulnerable to solutions that suggest an ‘ easy fix. ’.

  4. Steve Tsang:

    What would be useful is if countries, not just in Europe, but if all countries that care about human rights and ethical trading insist they will stop working with companies operating in Xinjiang unless they can independently verify the supply chain conditions, but the Trump administration has discredited itself in terms of moral leadership. I mean, who believes Donald Trump when he says he defends human rights ?

  5. Mona Gupta:

    Domestic consumers should raise their voice. If they insist on buying only ethical products, that will bring pressure on manufacturers.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for ethical

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