Definition of Etiquette: Difference with Ethics, Characteristics, and Examples

Definition of Etiquette – As dignified and virtuous social beings, it is better for us to instill good social values ​​within ourselves and spread them to the general public. One of the characteristics of a dignified person is having good manners in their daily life so that they can lead a harmonious and peaceful life without any disputes with each other.

The term etiquette itself is actually quite closely related to ethics. Even though they are related to each other, it is clear that the two terms have quite fundamental differences. In general, etiquette is explained as a procedure for carrying out courtesy and vice versa, ethics is the direct application of the form of these manners.

Both have a very important role in peaceful social life, but you need to know that Readers are no longer mistaken when asked to explain what the difference between etiquette and ethics is, so in this discussion we have summarized information about etiquette, types, examples, and the difference between etiquette and ethics. which will add insight to all of you Readers.

Furthermore, we have presented the discussion and can be listened to below!

Definition of Etiquette and Ethics

Sometimes we find it difficult to distinguish between ethics and etiquette. Because the two terms are often considered synonymous. Ethics and etiquette have different meanings on closer inspection. Although in fact they have a lot in common.

Etiquette is an attitude, like manners or other rules, that govern relations between groups of cultural workers. Etiquette comes from the French word “etiquette”.

The most basic is one of the most important things parents teach their children. Children who are brought up with basic manners can adapt well in society. This is an important provision for the future. Some children’s foundations are accustomed to thanking, apologizing, understanding how to share, willing to help others and know how to communicate properly with others.

Basic manners or etiquette is the good behavior of a person in relation to those around him. A person with good manners also leads a good social life. Therefore, parents must teach their children basic manners from an early age so that later they can communicate. There are different types of behavior that comprise the basic behavior.

Meanwhile, in the study of linguistics, the word ethics comes from the Greek word ethos, which means comes from habit. In this case, the perspective of the object is the action, attitude or behavior of the person. More specifically, the notion of ethics is the science of the attitude and decency of an individual in his social environment, which is full of rules and principles relating to behavior that is considered appropriate.

Ethics is a discipline whose aim is to study morality. Apart from ethics, morality is studied by several other disciplines, including anthropology, sociology, and psychology. The difference lies in the approach used to understand morality. The approach used in ethics is the descriptive study of morality. Ethics is the main problem of human social activity. Ethical goals are descriptive and prescriptive. Descriptive means that ethics makes observations about individual characteristics. Meanwhile, precept means that the purpose of ethics is to assess people’s actions and provide recommendations or approval of people’s actions.

However, the general understanding of ethics is the rules, norms, rules or procedures that are normally used as guidelines or principles for the performance of individual actions and behavior. The application of this standard is closely related to the good and bad character of individuals in society.

So ethics is the science that examines good and evil as well as duties, rights and responsibilities both socially and morally for everyone in their social life. Or it can also be said that ethics includes values ​​related to individual morality regarding right and wrong

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The Fundamental Difference Between Etiquette and Ethics

By understanding this, you will also have an understanding of the difference between etiquette and etiquette. So that you know more clearly, here we summarize the differences between ethics and everyday etiquette.

Asmawati Burhan’s General Textbook of Ethics (2019) reports on differences in ethics and etiquette relating to human behavior. Both ethics and etiquette give names to human behavior, i.e. what is permissible and what is not. One of the differences between ethics and etiquette is their scope. Ethics is about individual morality. Although etiquette is all about manners.

According to K. Bertens, the book Ethics (2007) explains four differences between ethics and etiquette. Here’s the description:

  • Etiquette is about how one should act. Meanwhile, ethics refers to the standard of action itself.
  • Etiquette is valid only in social connections. At the same time, ethics always prevails, even if no one pays attention to it.
  • Etiquette is relative (what is considered polite in one culture may be impolite in another). Even though ethics is absolute or does not need to be questioned anymore.
  • Etiquette only applies to the outside of a person. Even though ethics refers to the inner (spiritual) side of a person.

The difference between ethics and etiquette can be started by recognizing the role ethics play in everyday life. Ethics fulfills its function as a place of critical identification in dealing with various confusing moral situations.

In addition, ethics is also an indicator of intellectual ability. Intellectual ability is the ability to reason rationally and critically. Then ethics also works in an ethical orientation, which is very necessary in a rational attitude in lularis conditions.

We can learn the difference between ethics and etiquette in advance from the characteristics of one of them, namely ethics. Ethics has several characteristics that we need to understand as a social science study, including:

1. Absolute or absolute nature

This means that ethics applies to everyone, anywhere and anytime. Ethics as a principle is unquestioned and does not depend on changing moral foundations. For example, killing other people and seizing rights or property are immoral acts and actions for whatever reason.

2. Ethics to judge whether human actions are good or bad.

Ethics usually prevails, although there is nothing to prove it. This is because ethics is related to the principles of good conscience and human life. For example, if someone steals, even though no one else knows about it, it is still an act that violates applicable ethics and norms. So one’s morale is ultimately bad, even if the police don’t deserve it.

3. Ethics is closely related to human actions or behavior.

Ethics, namely how to look inward about the good and bad relationships of actions committed by people or individuals. Basically, everyone is taught the things that can and cannot be done. Then people gradually come to know good and bad things, so they take shape and seep into their hearts. Of course, this makes people debate whether they want to commit evil or evil deeds.

4. Ethics is also related to the perspective of human reason.

Ethics is very closely related to one’s behavior, deeds and behavior. In this way, ethics for the most part develops naturally as a result of individual behavior, actions and behavior. Bad behavior and actions are considered as bad ethics, while good behavior and actions are also considered as good ethics. Fundamentally, however, ethics is closely related to the behavior and actions of the individual itself.

So ethics always apply, even when no one else is looking.

The following differences in ethics and etiquette can also be seen from their uses. The advantage of ethics itself is that through ethics people can contribute to attitudes that prevail between different points of view and morality. Then ethics is also useful for distinguishing what cannot be changed and what can be changed.

In addition, through systematic and critical thinking, ethics can also solve problems of morality and other social conditions that are troubling society.

Then ethics is also based on reason, not emotion, which can harm many people. Namely thinking and working systematically and regularly. Ethics can also dig into a problem down to its roots, not just out of curiosity, regardless of it.

Characteristics of Etiquette

Etiquette refers to a certain way of acting, habit, way or behavior adopted by a group of people when doing something. An example of etiquette is giving with the right hand.

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Etiquette only applies to social interactions. In other words, if there are no witnesses or people, then the rules (adat) do not apply. For example, if someone puts their feet on the table while sitting on a chair and someone else sits with them, then this is not etiquette. However, such activity was fine if no one was looking or if he was just sitting alone.

Etiquette is very relative. Being rude to one group of people may not be a problem for another group of people. Spitting while eating is a relative violation of etiquette, while killing or stealing is an absolute etiquette. Therefore killing and stealing is guilty anywhere and anytime. Etiquette has more to do with looking at things outwardly or physically.

Etiquette is also closely related to manners (the two positions are interchangeable). Therefore, good manners emphasize only external conformity to standards. Politeness also aims to facilitate or harmonize social relations between humans. Politeness confuses the important and the unimportant. Sometimes behavior prioritizes things that are less important. For example our handshake with someone we already know or know when we meet, or saying “thank you” to someone who gave something.

Examples of Basic Etiquette in Everyday Life

There are various examples of basic etiquette in life. Some of the things to know are:

1. Ask for Help and Thank You

One of the ways parents educate their children is to properly ask for help and be grateful when others have helped them. Parents should set an example by saying the same when they ask their child for help.

For example, when asking your child to put their toys down, use “put them down first, son”, then when your child puts their toys down, remember to say “thank you”. If done every day, over time the child will follow this habit. Also, don’t forget to explain the meaning of the words please and thank you.

2. Greet others properly

Greeting others properly is one of the basic etiquette that children must master. When he meets friends, relatives or other people he doesn’t know, he needs to know how to greet them properly. Teach children to use polite words, especially when greeting older people.

Also, teach your child to look the other person in the eye during a conversation. If possible, teach them to shake hands with people they just met. The best way to practice this behavior is to practice it when role-playing or meeting other people.

3. Ask permission before taking

A child must learn that not everything can be taken for granted. If a child sees something he wants to touch, eat or take, then the child must be taught to ask permission first. Once they get something they want, they should be taught to say thank you.

4. Apologize when you make a mistake

Apart from asking for help and thanking them, children must know how to apologize properly. When children make mistakes, children must be taught to admit it honestly and apologize.

5. Don’t laugh at or insult others

Children may hear ridicule from their surroundings or from the TV programs or videos they watch, but find it acceptable. To avoid this, parents should make sure their child knows the basics not to tease, laugh at, or hurt others.

If they are allowed to make fun of others as a joke, even if the joke hurts the other person’s feelings, this behavior can eventually lead to bullying. Teach children that hurting other people’s feelings is not good and should be avoided.

6. Help others

Helping others is a basic habit that must be introduced to children from an early age. Teach children to care about the environment around them. It can foster empathy in children and make them grow into selfless individuals.

You can start by inviting your child to help with household chores, such as cleaning up his toys or lending his things to other people who need them.


That’s a brief discussion of the meaning of etiquette. Not only discussing the meaning of etiquette, but also further discussing the difference with ethics, characteristics, and examples of basic etiquette in everyday life.

Learning basic etiquette is a very important thing in social life because it teaches us various ways to behave and adapt to the situations and conditions we face in order to remain in accordance with local regulations.

Thus a review of how the meaning of etiquette and the difference with ethics.