mid-14c., "pertaining to character or temperament" (good or bad), from O.Fr. moral
, from L. moralis
"proper behavior of a person in society," lit. "pertaining to manners," coined by Cicero ("De Fato,"
II.i) to translate Gk. ethikos
) from L. mos
) "one's disposition," in plural, "mores, customs, manners, morals," of uncertain origin. Meaning "morally good, conforming to moral rules," is first recorded late 14c. of stories, 1630s of persons. Original value-neutral sense preserved in moral support, moral victory
, with sense of "pertaining to character as opposed to physical action." The noun meaning "moral exposition of a story" is attested from c.1500. Related: Morally