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Moral vs. Immoral: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Moral refers to actions or principles that are considered right and ethical, while immoral denotes actions or principles that are deemed wrong or unethical.
Moral vs. Immoral

Key Differences

Moral principles are guidelines that govern good behavior and are often associated with virtues like honesty and compassion. Immoral actions, in contrast, are those that violate these ethical standards, often marked by dishonesty or harm to others.
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Dec 23, 2023
Morality is subjective and can vary based on cultural or personal beliefs, but generally, it promotes social harmony and personal integrity. Immorality, however, often leads to social discord and personal regret, as it usually involves actions that are harmful or deceitful.
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In many societies, moral behaviors are encouraged and rewarded, seen as building blocks for a cohesive community. Conversely, immoral behaviors are often punished or frowned upon, as they can disrupt social order and trust.
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Moral actions often stem from empathy and a sense of responsibility towards others. Immoral actions, on the other hand, are frequently driven by selfish motives and a disregard for the well-being of others.
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Ultimately, the distinction between moral and immoral can depend on one's perspective and context, but universally, moral actions are those that contribute positively to society and individuals, while immoral actions are detrimental.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Conforming to ethical standards
Contrary to ethical standards
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Motivation

Often altruistic
Usually selfish or harmful
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Social Perception

Generally viewed positively
Generally viewed negatively
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Impact on Society

Promotes social harmony
Causes social discord
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Personal Consequences

Leads to integrity and respect
Often results in guilt and condemnation
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Moral and Immoral Definitions

Moral

Pertaining to principles of right and wrong behavior.
Donating to charity is a moral action.
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Dec 12, 2023

Immoral

Contrary to accepted moral principles.
Stealing is an immoral act.
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Moral

Conforming to accepted standards of conduct.
Being honest in your dealings is considered moral.
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Dec 12, 2023

Immoral

Showing a lack of ethical values.
Lying to gain advantage is immoral.
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Dec 12, 2023

Moral

Reflecting concern for others' well-being.
Helping a stranded motorist is a moral act.
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Immoral

Involving actions harmful to others.
Bullying someone is considered immoral.
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Moral

Guided by a sense of ethical duty.
Speaking out against injustice is a moral responsibility.
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Dec 12, 2023

Immoral

Reflecting selfishness or cruelty.
Ignoring a person in distress is immoral.
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Dec 12, 2023

Moral

Of or concerned with the judgment of right or wrong of human action and character
Moral scrutiny.
A moral quandary.
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Dec 10, 2023

Immoral

Disregarding the distinction between right and wrong.
Cheating in a test is an immoral behavior.
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Moral

Teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior
A moral lesson.
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Dec 10, 2023

Immoral

Contrary to established moral principles.
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Moral

Conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; virtuous
A moral life.
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Dec 10, 2023

Immoral

Breaching principles of natural law, rectitude, or justice, and so inconsistent with the demands of virtue, purity, or "good morals"; not right, not moral. Compare unethical, illegal.
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Moral

Arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong
A moral obligation.
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Immoral

Not moral; inconsistent with rectitude, purity, or good morals; contrary to conscience or the divine law; wicked; unjust; dishonest; vicious; licentious; as, an immoral man; an immoral deed.
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Moral

Having psychological rather than physical or tangible effects
A moral victory.
Moral support.
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Immoral

Concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles;
Moral sense
A moral scrutiny
A moral lesson
A moral quandary
Moral convictions
A moral life
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Dec 10, 2023

Moral

Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction, rather than on the actual evidence
A moral certainty.
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Immoral

Not adhering to ethical or moral principles;
Base and unpatriotic motives
A base, degrading way of life
Cheating is dishonorable
They considered colonialism immoral
Unethical practices in handling public funds
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Dec 10, 2023

Moral

The lesson or principle contained in or taught by a fable, a story, or an event.
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Dec 10, 2023

Immoral

Morally unprincipled;
Immoral behavior
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Moral

A concisely expressed precept or general truth; a maxim
Likes to follow the moral "To each, his own.".
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Immoral

Characterized by wickedness or immorality;
Led a very bad life
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Moral

Morals Rules or habits of conduct, especially of sexual conduct, with reference to standards of right and wrong
A person of loose morals.
A decline in the public morals.
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Immoral

Marked by immorality; deviating from what is considered right or proper or good;
Depraved criminals
A perverted sense of loyalty
The reprobate conduct of a gambling aristocrat
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Moral

Of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behaviour, especially for teaching right behaviour.
Moral judgments;
A moral poem
A moral obligation
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Moral

Conforming to a standard of right behaviour; sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment.
A moral action
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Moral

Capable of right and wrong action.
A moral agent
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Moral

Probable but not proved.
A moral certainty
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Moral

Positively affecting the mind, confidence, or will.
A moral victory;
Moral support
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Dec 10, 2023

Moral

(of a narrative) The ethical significance or practical lesson.
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Moral

Moral practices or teachings: modes of conduct.
A candidate with strong morals
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Moral

(obsolete) A morality play.
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Moral

A moral certainty.
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Moral

An exact counterpart.
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Moral

(intransitive) To moralize.
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Moral

Relating to duty or obligation; pertaining to those intentions and actions of which right and wrong, virtue and vice, are predicated, or to the rules by which such intentions and actions ought to be directed; relating to the practice, manners, or conduct of men as social beings in relation to each other, as respects right and wrong, so far as they are properly subject to rules.
Keep at the least within the compass of moral actions, which have in them vice or virtue.
Mankind is broken loose from moral bands.
She had wandered without rule or guidance in a moral wilderness.
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Dec 10, 2023

Moral

Conformed to accepted rules of right; acting in conformity with such rules; virtuous; just; as, a moral man. Used sometimes in distinction from religious; as, a moral rather than a religious life.
The wiser and more moral part of mankind.
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Moral

Capable of right and wrong action or of being governed by a sense of right; subject to the law of duty.
A moral agent is a being capable of those actions that have a moral quality, and which can properly be denominated good or evil in a moral sense.
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Moral

Acting upon or through one's moral nature or sense of right, or suited to act in such a manner; as, a moral arguments; moral considerations. Sometimes opposed to material and physical; as, moral pressure or support.
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Moral

Supported by reason or probability; practically sufficient; - opposed to legal or demonstrable; as, a moral evidence; a moral certainty.
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Dec 10, 2023

Moral

Serving to teach or convey a moral; as, a moral lesson; moral tales.
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Moral

The doctrine or practice of the duties of life; manner of living as regards right and wrong; conduct; behavior; - usually in the plural.
Corrupt in their morals as vice could make them.
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Moral

The inner meaning or significance of a fable, a narrative, an occurrence, an experience, etc.; the practical lesson which anything is designed or fitted to teach; the doctrine meant to be inculcated by a fiction; a maxim.
Thus may we gather honey from the weed,And make a moral of the devil himself.
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.
We protest against the principle that the world of pure comedy is one into which no moral enters.
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Moral

A morality play. See Morality, 5.
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Moral

To moralize.
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Moral

The significance of a story or event;
The moral of the story is to love thy neighbor
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Moral

Relating to principles of right and wrong; i.e. to morals or ethics;
Moral philosophy
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Moral

Concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles;
Moral sense
A moral scrutiny
A moral lesson
A moral quandary
Moral convictions
A moral life
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Moral

Adhering to ethical and moral principles;
It seems ethical and right
Followed the only honorable course of action
Had the moral courage to stand alone
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Dec 10, 2023

Moral

Arising from the sense of right and wrong;
A moral obligation
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Moral

Psychological rather than physical or tangible in effect;
A moral victory
Moral support
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Moral

Based on strong likelihood or firm conviction rather than actual evidence;
A moral certainty
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Moral

Based on a sense of justice and fairness.
A moral decision would be to return a lost wallet.
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Dec 12, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is immorality always illegal?

No, immoral actions may not necessarily break laws, but they violate ethical standards.
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Dec 23, 2023

Can something be moral in one culture and immoral in another?

Yes, perceptions of morality can vary significantly between cultures.
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Dec 23, 2023

What does 'moral' mean?

Moral refers to behavior or decisions that align with accepted ethical standards.
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Dec 23, 2023

Can an action be morally justified but still feel wrong?

Yes, personal feelings and societal morals can sometimes conflict.
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Dec 23, 2023

Can a person be moral without being religious?

Yes, morality is not solely based on religion and can be guided by secular ethics.
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Dec 23, 2023

Is it possible for morals to change over time?

Yes, moral standards can evolve with changes in societal values and knowledge.
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Dec 23, 2023

Can a person's morals conflict with their duties?

Yes, conflicts between personal morals and professional or societal duties can occur.
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Does 'immoral' mean the same as 'amoral'?

No, 'immoral' means contrary to moral standards, while 'amoral' refers to a lack of moral awareness.
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Dec 23, 2023

How does society determine what is moral?

Societal morals are often shaped by cultural, religious, and philosophical influences.
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Dec 23, 2023

Is immorality always intentional?

Not necessarily; sometimes, actions can be unintentionally immoral.
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Dec 23, 2023

Are children born with a sense of morality?

Children develop a sense of morality as they grow and learn from their environment.
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Dec 23, 2023

Can a good person commit immoral acts?

Yes, even individuals with good intentions can sometimes act immorally.
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Dec 23, 2023

Can a morally right action have negative consequences?

Yes, sometimes moral actions can lead to unintended negative outcomes.
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Can laws be immoral?

Yes, laws can be immoral if they violate ethical principles or promote injustice.
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Dec 23, 2023

Is there a universal standard for morality?

While some ethical principles are widely accepted, there's no absolute universal moral standard.
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Dec 23, 2023

Are moral judgments always objective?

No, they are often influenced by personal and cultural biases.
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Dec 23, 2023

Does being moral guarantee happiness?

Not necessarily, as moral choices can sometimes lead to personal sacrifices.
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Dec 23, 2023

What role does empathy play in morality?

Empathy is crucial in understanding and respecting others' needs, a key aspect of morality.
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Dec 23, 2023

How does one develop a moral compass?

Through a combination of upbringing, personal experiences, and reflection.
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Dec 23, 2023

Can immorality be rehabilitated?

Yes, individuals can learn and adopt more ethical behaviors over time.
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Dec 23, 2023

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Shumaila Saeed
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Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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