Ethos

Ethos

ˈēˌTHäs

Noun

  • The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.

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Example Sentences

“My new job is at a company that prides itself on an ethos of kindness and optimism.”

“This group seems to embrace the hippie ethos, with an emphasis on peace, nonviolence, and nonconformity.”

“The academy was founded on an ethos of self-improvement and hard work.”

Word Origin

Greek, late 17th century

Why this word?

Ethos, logos, and pathos are methods of persuasion (aka rhetorical appeals) originally taught by the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. In this context, “ethos” refers to credibility, “pathos” implies emotion, and “logos” refers to logic. These are the principles that can be used to make a speech more persuasive. Outside of Aristotle’s teachings, “ethos” means the spirit of a culture or community. It’s based on shared beliefs and aspirations, but can also comprise cultural staples, such as clothing and food. For example, the ethos of Swifties includes a deep love for anything Taylor Swift does, a belief in Travis Kelce, and an aspiration to buy every iteration of a new album and concert tickets. 

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ˈblaT͟Hərˌskīt