hy·​poc·​ri·​sy | \ hi-ˈpä-krə-sē How to pronounce hypocrisy (audio) also hī- \
plural hypocrisies

Definition of hypocrisy

1 : a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not : behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel His hypocrisy was finally revealed with the publication of his private letters. especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion our conventional morality often serves as a cover for hypocrisy and selfishness — Lucius Garvin
2 : an act or instance of hypocrisy a keen awareness of one's parents' hypocrisies

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of hypocrisy in a Sentence

When his private letters were made public, they revealed his hypocrisy. the hypocrisy of people who say one thing but do another Teenagers often have a keen awareness of their parents' hypocrisies.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web McGowan also said Twitter was partaking in hypocrisy over banning her for the post but allowing pornographic images on its platform. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "Rose McGowan slams Twitter's Jack Dorsey as supporter of 'evil' after being suspended over post criticizing Bill Clinton," 1 Apr. 2021 But some journalists called that hypocrisy given his pledges during the campaign. David Bauder, Star Tribune, "EXPLAINER: Why is media access at the border an issue?," 26 Mar. 2021 Such naked artifice and hypocrisy may seem crazy, given China’s atrocious human-rights record. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "China Continues to Show Its Contempt for the U.S.," 25 Mar. 2021 The catastrophists’ oversize influence has produced a dangerous hypocrisy. Wayne Christian, WSJ, "Texas’ Blackouts Blew In on the Wind," 19 Mar. 2021 Footage of the incident didn't see the light of day for nearly six months—a testament to Acevedo's broad skillset and coolness under hypocrisy. Dan Carson, Chron, "Farewell to Art Acevedo, the LeBron James of performative self-promotion," 16 Mar. 2021 The hypocrisy shouldn’t shock anyone, even though this story has something that the outrages de jour lack. David S. Cohen, Rolling Stone, "The Real Case of Censorship That Proves ‘Cancel Culture’ Outrage Is Bullshit," 6 Mar. 2021 The discrepancy between the performance of social identity and the fluctuating reality of feeling and thought goes beyond Miranda’s flailing hypocrisy. Los Angeles Times, "Review: In ‘The Gaze ... No Homo,’ a Black and queer actor navigates the white theater world," 6 Mar. 2021 Few things slow business progress more than hypocrisy from the top. Randy Illig, Forbes, "Six Simple Steps To Create A Customer-Centric Sales Culture That Builds Trust And Results," 4 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hypocrisy.' 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 hypocrisy

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hypocrisy

Middle English ypocrisye, borrowed from Anglo-French ypocrisie, borrowed from Late Latin hypocrisis, ypocrisis, borrowed from Greek hypókrisis "playing a part on the stage, pretending to be something one is not," from hypokri-, variant stem of hypokrī́nomai, hypokrī́nesthai "to reply, make an answer, speak in dialogue, play a part on the stage, feign" (from hypo- hypo- + krī́nomai, middle voice of krī́nō, krī́nein "to separate, choose, decide, judge") + -sis, suffix forming nouns of action or process — more at certain entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hypocrisy

Time Traveler for hypocrisy

Time Traveler

The first known use of hypocrisy was in the 13th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for hypocrisy

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hypocrisy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrisy. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hypocrisy



English Language Learners Definition of hypocrisy

disapproving : the behavior of people who do things that they tell other people not to do : behavior that does not agree with what someone claims to believe or feel


hy·​poc·​ri·​sy | \ hi-ˈpä-krə-sē How to pronounce hypocrisy (audio) \
plural hypocrisies

Kids Definition of hypocrisy

: the quality of acting in a way that goes against claimed beliefs or feelings

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on hypocrisy

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


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!