noun hu·bris \ˈhyü-brəs\

Definition of hubris

  1. :  exaggerated pride or self-confidence


play \hyü-ˈbri-stik\ adjective

hubris was our Word of the Day on 05/09/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of hubris in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. … our belief in democracy regardless of local conditions amounts to cultural hubris. —Robert D. Kaplan, Atlantic, December 1997

  4. His failure was brought on by his hubris.

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of hubris

Greek hybris

First Known Use: 1884

HUBRIS Defined for English Language Learners


noun hu·bris \ˈhyü-brəs\

Definition of hubris for English Language Learners

  • : a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence

Seen and Heard

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a dividing ridge between drainage areas

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