hu·​bris | \ ˈhyü-brəs How to pronounce hubris (audio) \

Definition of hubris

: exaggerated pride or self-confidence

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Other Words from hubris

hubristic \ hyü-​ˈbri-​stik How to pronounce hubris (audio) \ adjective

Hubris Comes From Ancient Greece

English picked up both the concept of hubris and the term for that particular brand of cockiness from the ancient Greeks, who considered hubris a dangerous character flaw capable of provoking the wrath of the gods. In classical Greek tragedy, hubris was often a fatal shortcoming that brought about the fall of the tragic hero. Typically, overconfidence led the hero to attempt to overstep the boundaries of human limitations and assume a godlike status, and the gods inevitably humbled the offender with a sharp reminder of his or her mortality.

Did You Know?

To the Greeks, hubris referred to extreme pride, especially pride and ambition so great that they offend the gods and lead to one's downfall. Hubris was a character flaw often seen in the heroes of classical Greek tragedy, including Oedipus and Achilles. The familiar old saying "Pride goeth before a fall" is basically talking about hubris.

Examples of hubris in a Sentence

When conceived it was a project of almost unimaginable boldness and foolhardiness, requiring great bravura, risking great hubris. — Simon Winchester, The Professor and the Madman, 1998 If you were born Somewhere, hubris would come easy. But if you are Nowhere's child, hubris is an import, pride a thing you decide to acquire. — Sarah Vowell, GQ, May 1998 … our belief in democracy regardless of local conditions amounts to cultural hubris. — Robert D. Kaplan, Atlantic, December 1997 His failure was brought on by his hubris.
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Recent Examples on the Web But the hubris of great powers has often instigated calamity. Washington Post, "How the U.S. and China could go to war," 9 Mar. 2021 The novel vividly details how Winter’s hubris and greed, two other heirlooms passed down from her drug-dealing father, led to her undoing. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Sister Souljah’s Story Isn’t Over," 8 Mar. 2021 There’s a hubris in finding fault for the sake of finding fault. Los Angeles Times, "A majestic ‘Tapestry’ and a ‘Cinderella’ worth revisiting," 22 Feb. 2021 The hubris of American exceptionalism — a myth of global superiority laid bare in America’s pandemic death toll — is what got us here. New York Times, "How the United States Lost to Hackers," 4 Feb. 2021 The announcement Tuesday offered further proof the Wolverines had flatlined after drowning in their own hubris. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football dealt one final punch in season of failure," 15 Dec. 2020 As his humble pie digests, Tua prepares for the Jets ... who will likely restore his hubris. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "NFL power rankings: Who rates as best and worst teams in lowly NFC East?," 24 Nov. 2020 There were no crowds on the mountain in 1934, when Wilson took his shot, but his hubris and dangerous obsession with the summit would be at home there today. Eva Holland, Outside Online, "Two Books Show the Good and Bad of Everest Obsession," 13 Nov. 2020 The sheer hubris of both decisions can lead a person into strange places. Michael Rand, Star Tribune, "Justin Turner's COVID celebration was an abundance of recklessness," 28 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hubris.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of hubris

1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hubris

Greek hybris

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Last Updated

19 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hubris.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for hubris



English Language Learners Definition of hubris

formal + literary : a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence

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