Morals [plural] :

proper ideas and beliefs about how to behave in a way that is considered right and good by most people



beliefs about what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior


What is the difference between “morals” and “morality”? Are they interchangeable in the following 3 examples from the dictionary?

  1. No one questions her morals.
  2. Socrates was accused of corrupting the morals of the youth of Athens.
  3. He has no morals.

I have done research and found dozens of articles explaining the difference between “morals/morality” and “ethics”. Few shed light on the difference between “morals” and “morality”. Could you help?

2 Answers 2


"Morality" is a container, which contains individual "morals".

It is usually possible to use either word in a particular context, but sometimes only by altering the sentence structure.


Morals and ethics both attempt to distinguish good from bad or unacceptable behavior. Morals are general principles codifying widely accepted values of the community; they are dependent on and maintained through public approval or sanctions. Ethics are consensual rules or standards that govern a profession or cohesive group; they are enforced by the group, with expulsion as the ultimate penalty. Laws are based on both to define and regulate the duties and obligations of citizens to each other and to the state; they are enforced by the police power of the state.

Moral philosophers tend to regard morals and ethics as interchangeable terms, perhaps because moral principles largely derive from the Christian concept of sinfulness, and most modern philosophers are religious skeptics or atheists who don't believe in sin. But the moral principles of Western Civilization derive from the Christian Bible and cannot be fully understood without some familiarity with biblical teachings.

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