Definition of Mores
(noun) Socially approved norms or standards of moral and ethical behavior.
Examples of Mores
Etymology of Mores
- Coined (along with ethnocentrism, folkways, in-group, and out-group) by William Graham Sumner (1840–1910) in Folkways: A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals (1906).
- American English – /mOR-ayz/
- British English – /mAWr-ayz/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /ˈmɔreɪz/
- British English – /ˈmɔːreɪz/
- Mores are moral standards that determine right and wrong; they are not social standards or folkways and the repercussions for breaking mores can be severe such as legal sanctions or even death.
- Mores change depending on the culture, group, or society, and are the basis of some laws.
- Almost exclusively found in the plural form, the singular form is mos.
- “No society lacks norms governing conduct. But societies do differ in the degree to which folkways, mores and institutional controls are effectively integrated with the goals which stand high in the hierarchy of cultural values. The culture may be such as to lead individuals to center their emotional convictions upon the complex of culturally acclaimed ends, with far less emotional support for prescribed methods of reaching out for these ends. With such differential emphases upon goals and institutional procedures, the latter may be so vitiated by the stress on goals as to have the behavior of many individuals limited only by considerations of technical expediency. In this context, the sole significant question becomes: Which of the available procedures is most efficient in netting the culturally approved value? The technically most effective procedure, whether culturally legitimate or not, becomes typically preferred to institutionally prescribed conduct. As this process of attenuation continues, the society becomes unstable and there develops what Durkheim called ‘anomie‘ (normlessness)” (Merton  1968:189).
- “Since mores . . . are based on cultural values and considered to be crucial to the well-being of the group, violators are subject to more severe negative sanctions (such as ridicule, loss of employment, or imprisonment) than are those that fail to adhere to folkways. The strongest mores are referred to as taboos” (Kendall 2006:56).
- Word origin of “mores” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Gibbs, Jack P. 1965. “Norms: The Problem of Definition and Classification.” American Journal of Sociology 70(5):586–94. doi:10.1086/223933.
- Parsons, Talcott. 1951. The Social System. New York: The Free Press.
- Therborn, Göran. 2002. “Back to Norms! On the Scope and Dynamics of Norms and Normative Action.” Current Sociology 50(6):863–80. doi:10.1177/0011392102050006006.
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Cite the Definition of Mores
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “mores.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 28, 2023 (https://sociologydictionary.org/mores/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
mores. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/mores/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “mores.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 28, 2023. https://sociologydictionary.org/mores/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“mores.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2015. Web. 28 Mar. 2023. <https://sociologydictionary.org/mores/>.