Pronunciation: (ē'thos, ē'thōs, eth'os, -ōs), [key]
1. Sociol.the fundamental character or spirit of a culture; the underlying sentiment that informs the beliefs, customs, or practices of a group or society; dominant assumptions of a people or period: In the Greek ethos the individual was highly valued.
2. the character or disposition of a community, group, person, etc.
3. the moral element in dramatic literature that determines a character's action rather than his or her thought or emotion.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.