mid-14c., "associated with or characterized by right behavior," also "associated with or concerning conduct or moral principles" (good or bad), from Old French moral (14c.) and directly from Latin moralis "proper behavior of a person in society," literally "pertaining to manners," coined by Cicero ("De Fato," II.i) to translate Greek ethikos (see ethics) from Latin mos (genitive moris) "one's disposition," in plural, "mores, customs, manners, morals," a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps sharing a PIE root with English mood (n.1).
From late 14c. as "of or pertaining to rules of right conduct" (opposed to non-moral, amoral) and "morally good, in accordance with rules of right conduct" (opposed to immoral). Of persons, "habitually conforming to moral rules," 1630s. From 1680s with reference to rights, duties, etc., "founded on morality" (opposed to legal).
Applied to indirect effect in moral support (1823), moral victory (1888), where the notion is "pertaining to or affecting the character or conduct" (as distinguished from the intellectual or physical nature), a sense attested from 1590s; in this sense, compare morale. Related: Morally.
"moral exposition of a story, the doctrine inculcated by a fable or fiction, the practical lesson which anything is designed to teach," c. 1500, from moral (adj.) and from French moral and Medieval Latin moralia. In this sense, morality was used from late 14c. The earlier noun use of moral was "a commandment pertaining to morals."
1610s, "a person's moral qualities," plural of moral (n.). Meaning "conduct, behavior, course of life in regard to right and wrong," often specifically with regard to sexual conduct, is by 1690s.
"customs," 1907 (W.G. Sumner, "Folkways"), from Latin mores "customs, manners, morals" (see moral (adj.)).
"behavior, customs, or habits of a people," by 1922, from French moeurs, from Latin mores "customs, manners, morals" (see moral (adj.)).
c. 1400, moralizen, "expound or interpret spiritual or moral significance, draw a moral from," from Old French moraliser and directly from Late Latin moralizare, from moralis "of manners or morals; moral" (see moral (adj.)). Intransitive sense of "make moral reflections" is from 1640s. Related: Moralized; moralizing; moralization.
1752, "moral principles or practice," from French morale "morality, good conduct," from fem. of Old French moral "moral" (see moral (adj.)). Meaning "mental condition as regards confidence, courage, hope, etc." (especially as regards soldiers, sailors, or any body of persons engaged in a hazardous enterprise) is recorded by 1831, from confusion with French moral (Modern French distinguishes le moral "temperament" and la morale "morality").