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[eth-ik] /ˈɛθ ɪk/
the body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group:
the Christian ethic; the tribal ethic of the Zuni.
a complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual:
a personal ethic.
Origin of ethic
1350-1400; Middle English ethic, etic < Latin ēthicus < Greek ēthikós, equivalent to êth(os) ethos + -ikos -ic
Related forms
nonethic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ethic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There is matter for thought in the fact that the Christian ethic has been called an ethic of slaves.

    Tragic Sense Of Life Miguel de Unamuno
  • ethic on its didactic side is outside his business altogether.

  • In the "philosophy of religion" we had still men and women, but in the "ethic" this final distinction vanishes.

  • The pathos confronts us too exclusively, not modified by any ethic principle.

    History of Ancient Art Franz von Reber
  • All ethic deems intentional infliction of injury justified by necessity; that is when it is a matter of self preservation.

    Human, All Too Human Friedrich Nietzsche
  • It was the ethic of a professional bowler and the religion of a banker.

    At Large Arthur Christopher Benson
British Dictionary definitions for ethic


a moral principle or set of moral values held by an individual or group: the Puritan ethic
another word for ethical
See also ethics
Word Origin
C15: from Latin ēthicus, from Greek éthikos, from ēthos custom; see ethos
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ethic

late 14c., ethik "study of morals," from Old French etique (13c.), from Late Latin ethica, from Greek ethike philosophia "moral philosophy," fem. of ethikos "ethical," from ethos "moral character," related to ethos "custom" (see ethos). Meaning "a person's moral principles" is attested from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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