Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
  • n. An act or instance of such falseness.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. applying criticism to others that one does not apply equally to oneself; moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues.
  • n. an instance of either of the above.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act or practice of a hypocrite; a feigning to be what one is not, or to feel what one does not feel; a dissimulation, or a concealment of one's real character, disposition, or motives; especially, the assuming of false appearance of virtue or religion; a simulation of goodness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Dissimulation of one's real character or belief; especially, a false assumption of piety or virtue; a feigning to be better than one is; the action or character of a hypocrite.
  • n. Synonyms Pretense, cant, formalism, sanctimoniousness, Pharisaism. See dissemble, dissembler, and deceit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have
  • n. an expression of agreement that is not supported by real conviction

Etymologies

Middle English ipocrisie, from Old French, from Late Latin hypocrisis, play-acting, pretense, from Greek hupokrisis, from hupokrīnesthai, to play a part, pretend : hupo-, hypo- + krīnesthai, to explain, middle voice of krīnein, to decide, judge; see krei- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English ipocrisie, from Old French ypocrisie, from Late Latin hypocrisis, from Ancient Greek ὑπόκρισις (hupokrisis, "answer, stage acting, pretense"), from ὑποκρίνομαι (hupokrinomai, "I reply"), from ὑπό (hupo, "under, equivalent of the modern "hypo-" prefix") + the middle voice of κρίνω (krinō, "I separate, judge, decide"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • "Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue." -- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

    September 25, 2008

  • I don't know who Jan Cox is, but this quote reminds me of Douglas Adams.

    August 31, 2007

  • It is reported that in the galaxy just north of here the young people grew so vicious
    and vociferous in their denunciation of the previous generation as being hypocrites
    that the elders held a general meeting after which this statement was issued:
    “All hypocrisy on our world is the result of becoming over thirty years of age,
    and we suggest that the younger generation either come up with a cure for aging,
    or else start making themselves bullet-proof now.�?
    (A reminder that these intergalactic stories can at times be so unreliable as to not rule out
    the possibility that this actually occurred in some earthling’s nervous-system.)
    --Jan Cox

    August 31, 2007