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 hubristic (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 The case had been expected to highlight the dangers of medical hype and hubris. Rebecca Robbins, STAT, "Pandemic will delay blockbuster trial of ex-Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes," 15 Apr. 2020 From the post: As a result of a lack of data, too much outlier data and noisy social media, big data hubris, and algorithmic dynamics, AI forecasts of the spread of COVID-19 are not yet very accurate or reliable. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, "Why artificial intelligence is so important in the coronavirus era," 14 Apr. 2020 After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the West’s victory bred triumphalism and hubris. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Liberal Democracy’s Threats From Within," 22 Jan. 2020 To embrace a full rebuild of the Broncos would mean having to admit failure, which can be almost impossible for a guy with Elway’s ego and hubris. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kickin’ It with Kiz: How to empower people wanting Broncos to start Drew Lock at quarterback," 26 Oct. 2019 Occupiers came and went, some foreign, some homegrown, leaving a trail of horror, pomp, and hubris in their wake. Mary Kaye Schilling, Town & Country, "Discovering the Culture of Mexico City," 18 Oct. 2016 The nine-episode series is a maze-like and mind-bending exploration of racial trauma, police violence, national hubris and the sins of the past. NBC News, "What to stream during your coronavirus self-quarantine," 17 Mar. 2020 And while voters gave Warren the cold shoulder, the pandemic has highlighted how her penchant for preparation and planning would be preferable to Trump's mix of magical thinking and hubris. Joel Mathis, TheWeek, "What would Warren do?," 7 Apr. 2020 The hubris of adults trying to protect their power, at the expense of victims, came with a price. Ann Killion,, "‘At the Heart of Gold’: Larry Nassar scandal documentary will make you rage," 6 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for hubris

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The first known use of hubris was in 1884

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Cite this Entry

“Hubris.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce hubris (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hubris

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

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