Pecksniffian

adjective
Peck·​sniff·​ian | \ pek-ˈsni-fē-ən How to pronounce Pecksniffian (audio) \

Definition of Pecksniffian

: unctuously hypocritical : pharisaical

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Examples of Pecksniffian in a Sentence

a Pecksniffian pandering to religious conservatives, especially in the weeks before the election

First Known Use of Pecksniffian

1844, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Pecksniffian

Seth Pecksniff, character in Martin Chuzzlewit (1843–44) by Charles Dickens

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About Pecksniffian

Time Traveler for Pecksniffian

Time Traveler

The first known use of Pecksniffian was in 1844

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About Pecksniffian

Dictionary Entries Near Pecksniffian

pecksniffery

Pecksniffian

pecky

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for Pecksniffian

Cite this Entry

“Pecksniffian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Pecksniffian. Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!