Equitable, fair, and just dealing with people that, although pragmatically flexible according to the situation and times, conforms to self-imposed high standards of public conduct. Once practically interchangeable with 'moral,' this term has acquired quasi-legal connotations and has moved closer to 'legitimate' following the recent (second half of the 20th century) schism between private morality and public morality.

Use ethical in a sentence

  • The HR rep was concerned that Meredith's conduct was not ethical and may have violated the company's standards and morals.

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  • Ethical treatment of animals is a very controversial issue these days because some people do not think that products should be tested on animals prior to their sale.

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  • He doesn't typically debate ethical dilemmas, but this one with the cancer patient and the expensive drug was an interesting one.

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