ethical

\ \ [17] The underlying meaning of Greek ēthos was ‘personal disposition’. It came ultimately from prehistoric Indo-European *swedh-, a compound formed from the reflexive pronoun *swe- ‘oneself’ and dhē- ‘put’ (from which English gets do). Gradually the meaning broadened out to ‘trait, character’ and then ‘custom’, or in the plural ‘manners’ or ‘morals’.
\ \ English acquired it, in the sense ‘distinctive characteristic’ (based on the usage of Aristotle), in the 19th century. The Greek derived adjective ēthikós entered English, via Latin ēthicus, as ethic in the 16th century. This had largely been replaced by ethical by the end of the 17th century, but it has survived as a noun (as in ‘the work ethic’), which actually predates the adjective in English by about two hundred years.
\ \ The plural usage ethicsscience of morals’ dates from the beginning of the 17th century.
\ \ Cf.DO

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • ethical — eth‧i‧cal [ˈeθɪkl] adjective 1. connected with principles of what is right and wrong: • The practice of analysts owning shares raises tough ethical questions. 2. morally good or correct: • We know our actions are completely legal and ethical.… …   Financial and business terms

  • ethical — eth·i·cal / e thi kəl/ adj 1: of or relating to ethics 2: conforming to accepted professional standards of conduct eth·i·cal·ly adv Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • ethical — c.1600, pertaining to morality, from ETHIC (Cf. ethic) + AL (Cf. al) (1). Related: Ethicality; ethically …   Etymology dictionary

  • ethical — *moral, righteous, virtuous, noble Antonyms: unethical Contrasted words: iniquitous, nefarious, flagitious (see VICIOUS): unbecoming, improper, unseemly, *indecorous, indecent …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • ethical — [adj] moral, righteous Christian, clean, conscientious, correct, decent, elevated, equitable, fair, fitting, good, high principled, honest, honorable, humane, just, kosher*, moralistic, noble, principled, proper, respectable, right, right minded …   New thesaurus

  • ethical — ► ADJECTIVE 1) relating to moral principles or the branch of knowledge concerned with these. 2) morally correct. 3) (of a medicine) available only on prescription. DERIVATIVES ethically adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • ethical — [eth′i kəl] adj. [ME ethik (< L ethicus < Gr ēthikos < ēthos, character, custom < IE base * swedh , essential quality, own character > Goth swes, L suus, one s own & suescere, to become accustomed) + AL] 1. having to do with ethics …   English World dictionary

  • ethical — [[t]e̱θɪk(ə)l[/t]] 1) ADJ: usu ADJ n Ethical means relating to beliefs about right and wrong. ...the moral and ethical standards in the school. ...the medical, nursing and ethical issues surrounding terminally ill people. Derived words: ethically …   English dictionary

  • Ethical — Ethic Eth ic, Ethical Eth ic*al, a. [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. [ e]thique. See {So}, {Do}.] Of,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ethical — eth|i|cal [ˈeθıkəl] adj [no comparative] 1.) relating to principles of what is right and wrong = ↑moral ethical issues/questions/problems ▪ The use of animals in scientific tests raises difficult ethical questions. ▪ The president must have the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • ethical — adj. ethical to + inf. (it is not ethical to plagiarize) * * * [ eθɪk(ə)l] ethical to + inf. (it is not ethical to plagiarize) …   Combinatory dictionary

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