hu·​bris | \ˈhyü-brəs \

Definition of hubris 

: exaggerated pride or self-confidence

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Other Words from hubris

hubristic \hyü-​ˈbri-​stik \ 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

My group decided to make only terrible decisions, and we were rightly punished for our hubris. Aaron Zimmerman, Ars Technica, "The hottest new board games from Gen Con 2018," 11 Aug. 2018 The cancellation of Roseanne is an opportunity squandered due in equal parts to fear, hubris, and a refusal to forgive. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "People Have a Lot of Thoughts About How The Conners Killed Off Roseanne," 17 Oct. 2018 This episode suggests the White House staff is either incompetent or has way too much hubris. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "The White House's Rob Porter debacle is a sign of incompetence or hubris — or both," 8 Feb. 2018 Football, though, will never tolerate thoughts of such hubris. Jonathan Wilson,, "Arrogant Germany Accepts Its Shocking, Deserved World Cup Elimination," 27 June 2018 While two Activision studios worked hard to make the graphics crisp and new, there's some hubris here. Harold Goldberg,, "Classic games, lovingly reimagined in 'Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy'," 13 July 2018 What if the greatest risk to the company is hubris? Bradley Olson, WSJ, "Exxon, Once a ‘Perfect Machine,’ Is Running Dry," 13 July 2018 Yet even opposition politicians ought to be wary of the Supreme Court’s hubris. The Economist, "Pakistan’s top court is eager to take on any brief," 28 Mar. 2018 John Milton railed against this very thing in Areopagitica—the dangerous hubris of government playing the role of gatekeeper to the world of knowledge: Are twenty men enough to estimate all the genius and the good sense of England? Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018

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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Statistics for hubris

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for hubris

The first known use of hubris was in 1884

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English Language Learners Definition of hubris

: a great or foolish amount of pride or confidence

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More from Merriam-Webster on hubris

Nglish: Translation of hubris for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hubris for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about hubris

Comments on hubris

What made you want to look up hubris? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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