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Can anyone please explain the difference between words: moraliser and moralist? Which one has got more positive meaning? Which one would be more appropriate, for example, in such a sentence: Charles Dickens was a great moraliser/moralist.

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Both have negative connotations:

mor‧al‧ize also moralise

British English [intransitive]

to tell other people your ideas about right and wrong behaviour, especially when they have not asked for your opinion [= preach]:

http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/moralize

And I am sure the above isn't only BrE, but also AmE.

Now about the other. See 3:

mor·al·ist noun

1 : one who leads a moral life

2 : a teacher or student of morals : a thinker or writer concerned with moral principles and problems

3 : one who is concerned to regulate the morals of others

Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary

However, I feel that the first has more of this negative connotation.

  • I thought so. A moraliser seems to be an intrusive preacher giving you a sermon when you don't ask for. Thanks. – ernest58 Apr 20 '15 at 22:02

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