Definition of morality in US English:


nounPlural moralities

  • 1Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.

    • ‘Does our intuition in favour of meaningful commitments violate the idea that morality concerns consequences?’
    • ‘If the sciences are indifferent to morality, what's to be done?’
    • ‘In principle this remarkably comprehensive scheme allows no ultimate distinction between religion and morality, law and ethics.’
    • ‘You talk about ethics or morality or quality of life.’
    • ‘The law is concerned chiefly with money and bears little relation to morality or natural justice.’
    • ‘The author's approach is inspired by concepts of morality and reason as well as faith, but they are remote from the kind of applied fanaticism that goes with the psychology of terrorism.’
    • ‘The background thought is then that morality is concerned with the production and fair distribution of human good.’
    • ‘In the course of what I have to say, the distinction between morality as convenience and morality as ideal will virtually collapse, along with a good deal else.’
    • ‘The message spoken in this election reflects a nation less concerned with morality and compassion than past generations, and far more content to wallow in its bigotry and jingoism.’
    • ‘In A Treatise Cudworth argues not only that ideas exist independently of human minds, but also the principles of morality are eternal and immutable.’
    • ‘For at root, the impetus for rejecting traditional morality is protective, not permissive.’
    • ‘As I have been suggesting, the distinction between law and morality has certain implications for its subject.’
    • ‘Maybe the fine distinctions between ethics and morality should be simplified.’
    • ‘In fact, such ethics, as well as the morality that underlies them, are nothing more than man-made myth to the atheist.’
    • ‘As has been mentioned previously, morality is fundamentally concerned with the effects of actions on other people.’
    • ‘People often act contrary to their expressed beliefs, including morality. so what defines morality?’
    • ‘For Aquinas the norms of morality are defined in terms of their relationship to human happiness.’
    • ‘Government is not a good source for teaching ethics, morality or social behavior.’
    • ‘Utilitarianism in moral philosophy is the view that morality should be aimed at promoting wellbeing.’
    • ‘The Church's view that there could be no morality without religion was rejected.’
    ethics, rights and wrongs, correctness, ethicality
    virtue, goodness, good behaviour, righteousness, rectitude, uprightness
    moral standards, morals, moral code, ethics, principles of right and wrong, rules of conduct, principles of behaviour, standards of behaviour, ethos, mores, standards, ideals
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.
      ‘a bourgeois morality’
      • ‘‘The Jealous God’ is based on the novel by John Braine and is set in the 1960s, capturing people's struggles within the morality of the time.’
      • ‘In 1949 Britain was still in the grip of rationing, public attitudes to sex were dictated by the morality of an earlier age and sex was supposed to be kept within marriage.’
      • ‘People can be free to live lives of differing moralities within the same state.’
      • ‘Writing around the time Beecher wrote, Elizabeth Cady Stanton also found differences between women's and men's moralities.’
      • ‘The morality of a country is judged by the way it treats its animals.’
      • ‘The morality of this country, the standards we expect people in public life to uphold, are being undermined for as long as people ignore the situation.’
      • ‘All human interpersonal behaviour then, comes down to an expression of the underlying value system - the morality - of the individual or group.’
      • ‘The superman creates his own morality based on human instincts, drive and will.’
      • ‘Being stuck between two cultures, between two different moralities can be a very difficult thing.’
      • ‘I feel protective of her because people are judging her by today's moralities and it was very, very different then.’
      • ‘Public health outreach workers must understand how people experience their romantic relationships and their social hierarchies and moralities.’
      • ‘When ‘liberalish’ elites decide to impose their social moralities on society, generally they've been pretty successful.’
      • ‘What this presupposes, of course, is that men and women are subject to different moralities.’
      • ‘Personal morality is not imposed by any outside agency.’
      • ‘The morality of the officer class may have been severe, but at least this country stood for something then.’
      • ‘She was such a compelling, unconventional character, yet people might question her morality.’
      • ‘But Christian morality is based on the Christian worldview.’
      • ‘Ambivalence best characterizes the American approach to legislating personal morality.’
      • ‘Adults adopt an essentially Kantian moral perspective that seeks to transcend and judge all conventional moralities.’
      • ‘When I challenged him on the morality of this, he said that just as he couldn't accept my morality, so I would just have to live with his morality.’
    2. 1.2 The extent to which an action is right or wrong.
      ‘behind all the arguments lies the issue of the morality of the possession of nuclear weapons’
      • ‘The morality of sanctioned assassination depends mainly on whether and when one can justify murder.’
      • ‘Instead, I question the morality of legislating against a group simply seeking a better pay for a dangerous job.’
      • ‘Laurel had never before thought to question the morality of what she was doing; she had merely done what was necessary to find out the truth.’
      • ‘There's a hodgepodge of moral issues here, but the main questions seem to be about the psychology of a potential clone's parents rather than the morality of cloning itself.’
      • ‘The morality of threats to use mass-destructive force, even if the intent is to deter or effectively preclude such wars, has been hotly disputed.’
      • ‘The morality of all actions is defined in relation to outcomes.’
      • ‘The book continued to ask questions about the morality of his killing.’
      • ‘The morality of ending human life is something I will come to in more detail in Chapter 9.’
      • ‘But though we may disagree with the morality of his criteria, we must concede his right to make the allocation in whatever way he wishes.’
      • ‘But, leaving aside the morality of playing judge, jury and executioner in my own private war crimes proceedings, what good would it have done?’
      • ‘Understand, I'm not judging the morality of recreational drug use here.’
      • ‘The protagonist is a young man who despises a violent duty he is expected to preform, and who questions the morality of performing this duty.’
      • ‘The morality of releasing a dead man's journals is debatable, and the temptation not to buy it will be strong for many.’
      • ‘But the war also divided the country on issues of foreign policy, the United Nations and the morality of war itself.’
      • ‘The state would provide equality under the law and people would be free to express their belief about the morality of same-sex marriage through free association.’
      • ‘Not once, however, did the church's or Mary's personal opinion on the morality of abortion enter their conversation.’
      • ‘The editors have taken the results of their survey to heart, and published several articles on the morality of war this issue.’
      • ‘The morality of a war, perhaps tragically so, is usually judged by the way it was waged and its aftermath.’
      • ‘The morality of the choice each woman makes is between her and her creator.’
      • ‘It was only a minority, such as a few church figures at Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, who questioned the morality of apartheid.’


Late Middle English: from Old French moralite or late Latin moralitas, from Latin moralis (see moral).