| Thinking hardly|
or hardly thinking?
|Major trains of thought|
|The good, the bad|
and the brain fart
|Come to think of it|
A "more" is that which is not equal or less.
But in this case, it is a way of regulating or harmonizing the behaviors of the people in a particular society, and most correctly shows up as a plural, pronounced (/ˈmɔː.reɪz/), "mor-ayz".
Mores are behaviors that are (generally) known by everyone within a society, and can be prohibitions (do not eat with your hands), requirements (you must wash your hands before you leave a bathroom), or traditions ("Happy Birthday to You" is sung in most English-speaking houses at a birthday celebration).
Laws are mores that have been formally encoded, and carry specific, detailed, and formal punishments if they are broken. (Mom may spank you if you don't clean your room, but no formal body of society will bust you. However, if you litter, you have a chance of society putting you in jail).
Taboos are rules so deeply embedded in our society and minds, that they often are not even legislated against. You are not simply breaking a law, but you have crossed a line of not being human per that society (e.g. cannibalism and child molestation in modern Western cultures).
Mores and regulation of society
Through mores, a society generally defines accepted physical appearance (how long can a man wear his hair?), dress codes (can you go to the opera in jeans?), levels of formality and politeness (would you say "yo! Fool!" to your grandmother? Your mayor?), roles of behavior (should kids be silent observers? Can women be in charge of the project?), daily routine (we go to bed when the sun goes down, eat a large lunch and tiny dinner), sexual behaviors (public displays of affection are discouraged, but male to male kissing on the cheek is the norm), etc.
Mores are generally understood from the earliest of ages, and are often instilled by observation and instruction. "Folkways" are sets of mores that generally require more pressure from society to teach and enforce. Social behavior for teens is one of the more common folk ways, like exactly when should kids start kissing, dating, and having sex. It is not surprising that rebellion against mores is a common method for young adults to attempt to establish identity before moving into the fully adult phase of a society. (Examples: piercings in unusual places, extreme tattooing, and dating 'the wrong guy'.)
Despite the Religious Right's attempt to show that there are moral codes held throughout the world, in some attempt to prove "God's Law", research from cultural anthropology has generally shown that few if any mores are held universally, with the exception of taboos - and even those are relative to the particular society.
Moral, morality, and etymology
Though the English word "moral" and "morality" also come from the Latin adjective moralis, mores are not generally moral codes. They may be more accurately described as "ways," and far more often address things about proper daily behaviors and rituals. Of course, most of a society's moral codes are in fact mores.[note 1]
In sociology, (probably 'cause more is such a strange looking word in English), the term custom is generally interchangeable with the single more, as it is understood to be one of the basic element in a culture's social mores.
- In intuitive set theoretic terms: "Most cats are not kittens, but all kittens are cats."