hy·​poc·​ri·​sy hi-ˈpä-krə-sē How to pronounce hypocrisy (audio)
 also  hī-
plural hypocrisies
: 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
: an act or instance of hypocrisy
a keen awareness of one's parents' hypocrisies

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Content by this author: A Revolution in American Foreign Policy Replacing greed, militarism, and hypocrisy with solidarity, diplomacy, and human rights. Bernie Sanders, Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2024 Burnham is a skilled observer of the hypocrisies coursing beneath our desire to do good and be good. Vulture Editors, Vulture, 4 June 2024 The former religious hypocrisy is mined for its inherent thematic tensions, but the latter storyline ends up falling by the wayside, as Bojanov frequently opts for dramatic implications, rather than detailed explorations. Siddhant Adlakha, Variety, 17 May 2024 The hypocrisy runs deep with some of my Republican friends who seem very selective in their outrage of current events. Tom Zirpoli, Baltimore Sun, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for hypocrisy 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hypocrisy.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near hypocrisy

Cite this Entry

“Hypocrisy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrisy. Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


hy·​poc·​ri·​sy hip-ˈäk-rə-sē How to pronounce hypocrisy (audio)
plural hypocrisies
: behavior that does not agree with what one claims to believe or feel
the hypocrisy of people who say one thing and do another

More from Merriam-Webster on hypocrisy

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