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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.
ethics eth·ics (ěth'ĭks)
The rules or standards governing the conduct of a person or the conduct of the members of a profession.
The branch of philosophy that deals with morality. Ethics is concerned with distinguishing between good and evil in the world, between right and wrong human actions, and between virtuous and nonvirtuous characteristics of people.