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Origins and history of the word "moral"?


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#1 hug

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Posted 04 May 2007 - 12:07 PM

Can anyone help me, or point me in the right direction, regarding understanding the origins, roots, and history of the word "moral" and thus its variations . . . morality, the "moral" of a story, morale, and others?

What was the original root word? Where did it come from? What did it mean at that time, initially?

And, perhaps an even more difficult question, one of both linguistics and history, does anyone know the first time a word was used that meant anything similar to "moral" or "should" or "shouldn't", i.e., the first time (in writing) that such a word-concept was used indicating that humans, after writing emerged (more likely, well before and as it emerged), right away had a word that somehow was about the idea that there were laws or rules about what people should and shouldn't do to each other?

Thanks. "hug"

#2 eric l

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 02:41 AM

Try the following link for starters :
Online Etymology Dictionary

#3 hug

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Posted 05 May 2007 - 06:40 PM

eric l -- Thank you very much. The Online Etymology Dictionary was very helpful. I would include some of the material here, except that it is fairly detailed and a bit complex to write (for the various words, including moral, morale, morality, as well as ethics), and it's so easy to get to on that site, that I would just suggest, as you did, that anyone interested go there. Thanks again for the link!