Moral or Morale?

What Is the Difference between "Moral" and "Morale"?

"Moral" and "morale" are easy to confuse because they look so similar (i.e., they are nearly homonyms). However, their meanings are quite different.

Let's start with the meaning of "morale":
  • Morale. "Morale" means mental state, emotional state, spirit, or attitude. For example:
    • Cancelling the event would undermine staff morale.
"Moral" has three common meanings:
  • (1) Moral. "Moral" is the lesson learned from a story. For example:
    • The moral of this story is don't judge others.
  • (2) Morals. "Morals" are the standards someone adopts to determine right from wrong. For example:
    • I can't agree to your proposal. I have strong morals.
  • (3) Moral. "Moral" is an adjective meaning ethical or virtuous. For example:
    • His decision was based on a moral judgement not profitability.
moral or morale?

More about "Morale" and "Moral"

The words "morale" and "moral" look and sound similar, but their meanings are quite different.

With the stress on the second syllable, "morale" rhymes with "corral." ("Corral" means "to round up" as in "to corral the sheep"). With the stress on the first syllable, "moral" rhymes with "coral" (as in "coral reef").

Click to hear how "morale," "moral," and "morals" are pronounced:

More about "Morale"

As a noun, "morale" means "mental or emotional state." It often refers to someone's spirit or attitude. For example:
  • Your morale seems low. Are you okay? correct tick
  • I don't think we're going to solve our morale issue with a few sandwiches. correct tick
  • Studies have shown that employees' morale is directly related to their productivity. correct tick
  • Low morale will increase work errors, increase sick days, and decrease cooperation between departments. correct tick
A Trick to Remember "Morale"

Let the "ale" of "morale" remind you that "morale" refers to spirit or state of mental wellbeing.

More about "Moral"

As a noun, a "moral" is the lesson learned from a story (e.g., the moral of the story is don't drink and drive). Here is another example:
  • Everything has got a moral if you can only find it. correct tick (Author Lewis Carroll)
  • ("moral" = a lesson we can learn from)
The plural ("morals") usually conveys a different meaning. "Morals" are the standards that people adopt to differentiate between acceptable (or good) behavior and unacceptable (or bad) behavior. For example:
  • If your morals make you dreary, they are wrong. correct tick (Author Robert Louis Stevenson)
  • ("morals" = standards to determine right from wrong)
As an adjective, "moral" means "ethical" or "virtuous." For example:
  • No moral system can rest solely on authority. correct tick (Philosopher A. J. Ayer)
  • ("moral" = ethical)

Common Terms with "Morale" and "Moral"

Here are some common terms with "morale" and "moral":


  • morale booster
  • low morale
  • morale patches
  • team morale


  • moral argument
  • moral belief
  • moral standard
  • moral argument
  • moral compass
  • moral code
  • moral dilemma
  • moral fiber
  • moral high ground
  • moral justice
  • moral integrity
  • moral judgement
  • moral obligation
  • moral quandary
  • moral rights
  • moral support
  • moral values
  • moral victory
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This page was written by Craig Shrives.