Moral vs. Morale

  malza  —  Grammar Tips
Do “moral” and “morale” refer to different concepts originating in the same noun? Are there any differences in their meanings that are causing the different spellings of these words? Or is it about British/American spelling preferences? Let’s discuss more in this article about the reason behind the different spelling of the words “moral” and “morale” and how to use these words correctly, if any rule applies.

Moral vs. Morale

Both “moral” and “morale” seem to have their origin, of course, in the noun “morality”. But how related are they to this concept? Their meanings, obviously, are somehow related to this noun. But even so, these words looking so similarly, are still spelled slightly different. What is the reason behind this? In fact, it is actually simple to remember once you spot the difference. And that difference is represented by the part of speech these words represent. Take a closer look. “Moral” is an adjective, whereas “morale” is a noun. In addition, they have completely different meanings. So, it is clear now why “moral” and “morale” are spelled differently and used in completely different contexts. One is used to describe something, whereas the other defines a concept. Take a look at the explanations and examples below to get a better understanding.

When do we use “moral”?

In the first place, “moral” is an adjective describing something relating to standards from a society or community, of good and bad, or fair and unfair behavior, of values such as honesty and others, that people believe in, not defined by laws. And secondly, the adjective also describes a certain behavior, in ways that the others from the society or community will consider correct, good and honest.

Example 1: He has a moral obligation to his brothers, to help and support them when they need it. – “moral” describes to standards of good-bad/fair-unfair behavior that others believe in, not defined by law.

Example 2: I have never seen such a moral husband. – “moral” describes one’s behavior that the society or community approves as correct, good and honest.

When do we use “morale”?

“Morale”, on the other hand, is a noun, not an adjective. Instead of describing a behavior, an action or something else that the society considers good and honest, instead of describing those social standards of good and bad, the noun “morale” is actually defining a completely different concept.

“Morale” refers to the level of confidence and level of satisfaction that a person or a group feels when working together or when they are in front of a difficult, stressful or dangerous situation. Example: The captain managed to keep the team’s morale high, and this way they stayed productive and solved the problem in no time. – “morale” defines the amount of confidence and satisfaction of a team in front of a difficult problem.


Even though “moral” and “morale” seem to refer to the same thing, they are more than just various spellings: they are completely different words with different meanings. “Moral” is an adjective referring to social belief about values such as good, bad, fair, honest, unfair etc., whereas “morale” is a noun defining the level of satisfaction or confidence felt in front of a dangerous or difficult situation. Keep in mind that these words shouldn’t be confused. Through their different meanings, they have the power to change the sense of a phrase and the context of a conversation.