In today’s world, which often seems lawless and relativistic, the difference between ethics and morals might seem like splitting hairs, especially since no one seems concerned with either of them. Nonetheless, you can be the last bastion of upright conduct in a corrupt society and a great writer by knowing the difference between them and using them correctly.
In this article, I will compare ethics vs. morals. I will use each of these words in at least one example sentence, so you can see them in context. Plus, I will show you a useful memory tool that will help you decide whether you are actually talking about ethics or morals, or both.
The word ethics originated from late Middle English (denoting ethics or moral philosophy; also used attributively): from Old French éthique, from Latin ethice, from Greek (hē) ēthikē (tekhnē) ‘(the science of) morals’, based on ethos. The word morals originated from late Middle English: from Latin moralis, from mos, mor- ‘custom’, (plural) mores ‘morals’. As a noun the word was first used to translate Latin Moralia, the title of St Gregory the Great's moral exposition of the Book of Job, and was subsequently applied to the works of various classical writers.
Ethics as noun:
Ethics as verb:
Moral as noun:
The society scandal sheet Town Topics made snide remarks about her moralsand reported that she had been “indulging freely in stimulants” at Newport. [Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life, Kathleen Dalton]
Professional organizations began to revise their ethics codes to acknowledge that nonsexual dual relationships were unavoidable in some situations, especially in small communities. [Issues and Ethics in the Helping Profession]
Ethics or moral:
Ethics and morals refer to attitudes about right and wrong. Ethics are broad principles. Morals reflect individual values and beliefs. You can keep them straight by remembering that ethics apply to everyone, while morals apply to me.