Not conforming to a high moral or professional standard; immoral or untrustworthy


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



immoral, dishonest, unlawful, unscrupulous, corrupt, deceitful


ethical, moral, honest, lawful, scrupulous, trustworthy

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun None
Verb None
Adjective unethical
Adverb unethically

Example Sentences

  • The CEO’s decision to mislead investors about the company’s financial health was widely regarded as unethical and led to a loss of trust in the organization.

  • The journalist’s use of fabricated sources to create sensational news stories was a clear example of unethical journalism that undermined the integrity of the profession.

  • The pharmaceutical company’s deliberate suppression of negative drug trial results, putting patients at risk, was an unethical practice driven by profit-seeking motives.

  • The lawyer’s unethical behavior of tampering with evidence to secure a favorable outcome for their client not only undermined the justice system but also violated the principles of fairness and integrity.


The word “unethical” is derived from the prefix “un-” meaning “not,” and the noun “ethics,” which refers to moral principles or standards. By adding the suffix “-al,” the adjective form “unethical” is created to describe actions or behavior that goes against accepted moral or ethical principles.

The concept of ethics has its roots in ancient Greek philosophy, particularly in the works of philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Ethics deals with questions of right and wrong, and it provides a framework for guiding human behavior based on moral principles.

“Unethical” is used to describe actions or behaviors that are considered morally wrong, unacceptable, or contrary to ethical standards. It implies a violation of principles such as honesty, fairness, integrity, and respect for others. Examples of unethical behavior can include lying, cheating, stealing, deception, or exploitation.

The usage of “unethical” emphasizes the moral dimension of the subject, highlighting the violation of established norms and values. It is often employed in discussions about professional conduct, research ethics, business practices, or public affairs to denote actions or decisions that are deemed unethical due to their harmful or dishonest nature.

As an adjective, “unethical” serves as a critical term, highlighting the need for adherence to ethical principles and the consequences of deviating from them. It prompts discussions on moral responsibility, accountability, and the importance of ethical conduct in various domains of life.