hubris

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

Definition of hubris

: exaggerated pride or self-confidence

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web 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 That is not to say that Biden doesn’t have all the stubbornness or hubris that’s embedded in the genetic code alongside political ambition. Washington Post, "Joe Biden’s campaign, summed up in one simple gesture," 6 Oct. 2020 The hall was erected with the intent to venerate and deify, and the selections into it reflected the hubris of its creators. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, "The Futility of Rolling Stone’s Best-Albums List," 2 Oct. 2020 The hubris of this discourse and its presumptions about the state of the race make for some bleak comedy in hindsight. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Ridiculous Wargaming of the 2020 Election," 14 Sep. 2020 Thanks to my hubris, what was supposed to be a half hour of heating time dragged on. Soleil Ho, SFChronicle.com, "What I learned from eating frozen food exclusively for two weeks," 21 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of hubris

1884, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hubris

Greek hybris

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hubris

Time Traveler for hubris

Time Traveler

The first known use of hubris was in 1884

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about hubris

Statistics for hubris

Last Updated

19 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hubris.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hubris. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hubris

hubris

noun
How to pronounce hubris (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hubris

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

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!