The words ‘moral’ and ‘morale’ are often confused because of their close resemblance in spellings and the common link they share in being related to human behavior. Actually, ‘moral’ and ‘morale’ connote two very different aspects of human psyche. In what follows, we discuss the difference between ‘moral’ and ‘morale’.
‘Moral’, pronounced with accent on the first syllable, is an adjective that can serve as a noun as well. As an adjective, ‘moral’ means ‘concerning the principles of right versus wrong conduct or the goodness versus badness of character’, ‘founded on or conforming to principles of right conduct’, ‘virtuous in general conduct’, ‘ethical’ or ‘principled’. As a noun, ‘moral’ means ‘the moral message conveyed or the moral teaching imparted by a fable or a story’. In its plural form ‘morals’, it means ‘moral habits’, especially regarding sexual conduct.
‘Morale’, on the other hand, is a noun meaning ‘the state of psychological well-being of an individual or a group in terms of self-confidence, zeal, optimism, discipline and motivation’, especially when faced with adverse and hostile conditions. When ‘morale’ refers to a group, it means ‘team spirit’, the sense of a common purpose that drives the team members to put in their best to achieve success. ‘Morale’ is pronounced with emphasis on the second syllable.
Here are some examples that further elucidate the difference between ‘moral’ and ‘morale’:
- Irrespective of whether guilty or not, the President should have resigned on moral grounds when his name was dragged in a sex scandal.
- After doing such a disgraceful act, honestly, I wouldn’t have the moral courage to face anyone in the family or in society.
- One should avoid making moral judgments on others people’s behavior – to each his own.
- I am not the kind who feels a moral obligation to help anyone and everyone who approaches me for collecting donations for charitable trusts.
- The moral of this story is: “United we stand, divided we fall.”
- She is a woman of loose morals.
- After losing three matches in a row, the Australian football team’s morale plummeted really low.
- The President’s speech helped boost the morale of the soldiers.
That should suffice to understand the difference between ‘moral’ and ‘morale’.