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of, relating to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong; ethical:
moral attitudes.
expressing or conveying truths or counsel as to right conduct, as a speaker or a literary work.
founded on the fundamental principles of right conduct rather than on legalities, enactment, or custom:
moral obligations.
capable of conforming to the rules of right conduct:
a moral being.
conforming to the rules of right conduct (opposed to ):
a moral man.
virtuous in sexual matters; chaste.
of, relating to, or acting on the mind, feelings, will, or character:
moral support.
resting upon convincing grounds of probability; virtual:
a moral certainty.
the moral teaching or practical lesson contained in a fable, tale, experience, etc.
the embodiment or type of something.
morals, principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct.
Contemporary Examples

Few of us would argue that such thoughts render someone a moral degenerate—or even as grievously ignorant.
The Supreme Court Steps Back From Tokenism Under a New Name John McWhorter June 23, 2013

Woodson went on to decry those “corrupt” black politicians who were responsible for this as “moral traitors.”
Comedy of Errors at the Republicans’ March on Washington Celebration Ben Jacobs August 26, 2013

At the same time, Davis has always focused on the moral shift that made slavery suddenly seem problematic.
How Blacks Freed Themselves from Slavery Eric Herschthal February 17, 2014

The announcement speech called Mandela a “moral authority” and praised his lack of bitterness despite decades of imprisonment.
Six Defining Moments From Nelson Mandela’s Life (video) Nina Strochlic December 4, 2013

The death penalty is and always has been a financial and moral disaster.
Why the Death Penalty Needs to Die Nick Gillespie July 30, 2014

Historical Examples

I don’t forget that he has a cleaner bill of moral health than I have.
Garrison’s Finish W. B. M. Ferguson

From evil—physical, moral, and political—it is not our claim to be exempt.
United States Presidents’ Inaugural Speeches Various

Man is to be contemplated as an intellectual, and as a moral being.
The Philosophy of the Moral Feelings John Abercrombie

The story will signally fail of its purpose if it does not carry its own moral with it.
The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook

But once he had made his bid for success, he had to accept its moral consequences.
The Ordeal of Mark Twain Van Wyck Brooks

concerned with or relating to human behaviour, esp the distinction between good and bad or right and wrong behaviour: moral sense
adhering to conventionally accepted standards of conduct
based on a sense of right and wrong according to conscience: moral courage, moral law
having psychological rather than tangible effects: moral support
having the effects but not the appearance of (victory or defeat): a moral victory, a moral defeat
having a strong probability: a moral certainty
(law) (of evidence, etc) based on a knowledge of the tendencies of human nature
the lesson to be obtained from a fable or event: point the moral
a concise truth; maxim
(pl) principles of behaviour in accordance with standards of right and wrong

mid-14c., “pertaining to character or temperament” (good or bad), from Old French moral (14c.) and directly from Latin moralis “proper behavior of a person in society,” literally “pertaining to manners,” coined by Cicero (“De Fato,” II.i) to translate Greek ethikos (see ethics) from Latin mos (genitive moris) “one’s disposition,” in plural, “mores, customs, manners, morals,” of uncertain origin. Perhaps sharing a PIE root with English mood (1).

Meaning “morally good, conforming to moral rules,” is first recorded late 14c. of stories, 1630s of persons. Original value-neutral sense preserved in moral support, moral victory (with sense of “pertaining to character as opposed to physical action”). Related: Morally.

“moral exposition of a story,” c.1500, from moral (adj.) and from French moral and Late Latin morale.

Mentioned in “An Overview of Ada”, J.G.P. Barnes, Soft Prac & Exp 10:851-887 (1980).


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