Definition of ethos in English:



  • The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its attitudes and aspirations.

    ‘a challenge to the ethos of the 1960s’
    • ‘And the way to do that is to get more people to go racing and become involved in the ethos of the sport.’
    • ‘We have an innovative approach and a different ethos - and we are getting repeat business.’
    • ‘He founded a great regiment and the principles he founded it on and the ethos he left are just the same today as they were then.’
    • ‘There is mounting frustration with the anti-enterprise ethos of his administration.’
    • ‘Charlton and their manager have created an ethos that has kept the club not just afloat but positively buoyant.’
    • ‘Their ethos was that you had to treat the whole person, not just the cancer.’
    • ‘I was aware that the school had a culture of discipline and an ethos of personal improvement.’
    • ‘Much credit must go to the local community for the way they have embraced the ethos of community cohesion.’
    • ‘I tend to see the results as the by-product of an ethos where we encourage students to aim high.’
    • ‘Innovation was quietly continuous, prompting an ethos of understated optimism.’
    • ‘It was, after all, an ethos which could be portrayed as combining both a national and an individual ethic.’
    • ‘Choice is the ethos of a free-market environment; at the moment we don't have that.’
    • ‘And the real thing is that the whole ethos, culture and drive of the company now is to put that right.’
    • ‘It is by no means a perfect system, but dissent and debate are recognised as an integral part of the university ethos.’
    • ‘A Christian publishing house wants a Christian ethos to permeate its workforce.’
    • ‘While success is born of a competitive spirit among pupils, that does not have to breed an uncaring ethos.’
    • ‘The ethos is caring and ensures that everyone reaches their full potential.’
    • ‘For example, a bank launched a large-scale programme to create a new ethos of customer care.’
    • ‘Their projects are diverse, but the firms share a similar ethos.’
    • ‘Moving with the times is very much part of the ethos of the magazine, and of course we must practise what we preach.’
    spirit, character, atmosphere, climate, prevailing tendency, mood, feeling, temper, tenor, flavour, essence, quintessence
    animating principle, dominating characteristic, motivating force, disposition, rationale, code, morality, moral code, attitudes, beliefs, principles, standards, ethics
    View synonyms


Mid 19th century: from modern Latin, from Greek ēthos nature, disposition, (plural) customs.