ethos

[ee-thos, ee-thohs, eth-os, -ohs]
noun
1.
Sociology. the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period: In the Greek ethos the individual was highly valued.
2.
the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc.
3.
the moral element in dramatic literature that determines a character's action rather than his or her thought or emotion.

Origin:
1850–55; < Greek: custom, habit, character

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To ethos
Collins
World English Dictionary
ethos (ˈiːθɒs)
 
n
the distinctive character, spirit, and attitudes of a people, culture, era, etc: the revolutionary ethos
 
[C19: from Late Latin: habit, from Greek]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Etymonline
Word Origin & History

ethos
revived by Palgrave in 1851 from Gk. ethos "moral character, nature, disposition, habit, custom," from suffixed form of PIE base *s(w)e- (see idiom). An important concept in Aristotle (e.g. "Rhetoric" II xii-xiv).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

ethos

in rhetoric, the character or emotions of a speaker or writer that are expressed in the attempt to persuade an audience. It is distinguished from pathos, which is the emotion the speaker or writer hopes to induce in the audience. The two words were distinguished in a broader sense by ancient Classical authors, who used pathos when referring to the violent emotions and ethos to mean the calmer ones. Ethos was the natural disposition or moral character, an abiding quality, and pathos a temporary and often violent emotional state. For Renaissance writers the distinction was a different one: ethos described character and pathos an emotional appeal.

Learn more about ethos with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
It's a song that expresses a rock ethos many aspire to.
Part of the company ethos is to listen to fans.
Rodriguez combines sharp satire and timely political commentary with a
  decidedly B-movie ethos.
The concept surely grates on the scientific ethos.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature