mores (môrˈāz) [key], concept developed by William Graham Sumner to designate those folkways that if violated, result in extreme punishment. The term comes from the Latin mos (customs), and although mores are fewer in number than folkways, they are more coercive. Negative mores are taboos, usually supported by religious or philosophical sanctions. Whereas folkways guide human conduct in the more mundane areas of life, mores tend to control those aspects connected with sex, the family, or religion.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.