Jinnah, a barrister by profession, was incredibly adept at boosting Muslim morale through his speeches. His dream was Pakistan- a state based on Islamic morals which all citizens would follow without subjugation.

The words moral and morale may look alike but they neither mean nor sound the same. In fact, these words were borrowed into English from different languages at different times centuries apart. The word ‘moral’ has many meanings. As a noun, it can mean a set of teachings, practices, or principles that dictate standard behavior, proper code, or the distinction between right and wrong. It can also refer to a learnable extract or lesson of a story or experience. As an adjective, it can also serve to qualify something with the above qualities. Distinctively, the word ‘morale’, which is also used as a noun, refers to the magnitude of belief, confidence, or will a person or group of persons possesses at a particular time.

Read all the way down to learn more about the differences between these commonly confused words!

Moral vs morale – definitions, uses and example sentences

Definition of moral

‘Moral’ is pronounced ‘mo-ruhl’. It can be used both as a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it can refer to one of two things. In chief usage, it refers to a collection of principles that lay the foundation of conscience and set the standards of conduct. It can also refer to a point of significance or a lesson of ethical importance that a story or experience intends to impart.

As an adjective, the word ‘moral’ qualifies a noun with having ‘moral’ properties. It can be defined as pertaining to the caliber of good and bad; for instance ‘a moral judgment’. It can also refer to something that is deemed the right behavioral conduct; for instance, a moral duty.

‘Moral’, as an adjective, is also used in a couple of senses more. It can also qualify a noun as having the ability to distinguish right from wrong; for instance a moral compass. It can also be used to pertain to something that has a positive effect on the mind or spirit; for instance ‘moral success’ or ‘moral victory’. The synonyms of ‘moral’ include ‘principles’, ‘lesson’, and ‘righteous’.

Example sentences of moral:

  • The Mufti advised his audience, most of whom were young bachelors, to look for strong morals and good character instead of beauty and wealth in their future spouses.

In the first sentence, ‘moral’ is used under the first definition. Hence, the Mufti is advising bachelors to look for qualities such as strong principles and ethical values in their future spouses.

  • The moral of the story ‘The Midas Touch’ is to not be greedy as greed always takes its toll, which in Midas’ case was his daughter turning into gold.

In this sentence, ‘moral’ is used in the meaning of a point of ethical value. Here, the word moral is essentially synonymous with the word ‘lesson’. The sentence talks about the famous story called ‘The Midas Touch’ in which a man attains the power to turn anything to gold through his touch. The story teaches that greed always has an adverse ending as his daughter turned into gold because of his uncontrollable power.

  • During the height of the cold war, a Soviet officer’s moral judgment saved the world as he refused to fire a nuclear missile, virtually preventing a nuclear armageddon.

In the last sentence, ‘moral’ is used to denote the conformity of one’s behavior with the right behavior. Thus, the officer’s moral judgment refers to the right ethical judgment. A soviet soldier’s correct judgement saved the world from massive nuclear destruction.

Definition of morale

Morale’ is pronounced as ‘muh-raal’. It is a noun and refers to the level of confidence or determination of a person or group of people necessary to strive towards a given ideal. For instance, an army’s morale is the measure of the determination necessary to win a war or battle. The synonyms of ‘morale’ are ‘spirit’ and ‘self-esteem’.

Example sentences of morale:

  • Armies in plight often sing their country’s anthem and national songs to keep their morale from hitting rock bottom.

In the first sentence, ‘morale’ is used in a sentence of negative connotation to highlight that morale represents a capacity of confidence that can be empty or full. In difficult circumstances armies make up for lost morale by reciting their national anthems and national songs.

  • After winning a streak of eighty-eight gold medals in the Olympics, the Chinese team’s morale was as high as a kite.

Here, ‘morale’ represents the high spirits of the Chinese team as would be expected of any team after winning eighty-eight gold medals.

  • The team’s morale improved significantly as their coach delivered a speech before the match.

In the last sentence, ‘morale’ represents the confidence and determination of a team which was boosted by the team’s coach by a moving speech before the match commenced.


In a nutshell, ‘morals’ are principles that define good and bad while ‘morale’ is someone’s confidence to carry on. Chiefly, ‘morals’ are the measure of ethical standards or conformity to the right standard while ‘morale’ is the measure of motivation. To remember this stark difference, we offer you this tip: the ‘e’ in morale stands for ‘energy or ‘self-esteem’ which conveys a similar meaning.