Definition of Pecksniffian
: unctuously hypocritical : pharisaical
Pecksniffian was our Word of the Day on 12/10/2006. Hear the podcast!
Examples of pecksniffian in a Sentence
a Pecksniffian pandering to religious conservatives, especially in the weeks before the election
Did You Know?
Seth Pecksniff, a character with a holier-than-thou attitude in Charles Dickens's 1844 novel Martin Chuzzlewit, was no angel, though he certainly tried to pass himself off as one. Pecksniff liked to preach morality and brag about his own virtue, but in reality he was a deceptive rascal who would use any means to advance his own selfish interests. It didn't take long for Pecksniff's reputation for canting sanctimoniousness to leave its mark on English; "Pecksniffian" has been used as a synonym of "hypocritical" since 1849.
Origin and Etymology of pecksniffian
Seth Pecksniff, character in Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–44) by Charles Dickens
First Known Use: 1844
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up Pecksniffian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).