hyp·​o·​crit·​i·​cal ˌhi-pə-ˈkri-ti-kəl How to pronounce hypocritical (audio)
: characterized by behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel : characterized by hypocrisy
said that it was hypocritical to demand respect from students without respecting them in return
a hypocritical gesture of modesty and virtueRobert Graves
also : being a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings : being a hypocrite
hypocritically adverb

Examples of hypocritical in a Sentence

it's hypocritical to say mean things behind someone's back, and then to act nice when you want something from her
Recent Examples on the Web From the get-go, one of their guiding lights seems to have led a hypocritical life. Cherie Deville, Rolling Stone, 11 Nov. 2023 Even more concerning is the fact that this same hypocritical intolerance is accepted at so many of our top colleges and universities. WSJ, 15 Nov. 2023 The attack on Egypt would make the Western side in the Cold War look hypocritical, and help the Soviets gain ground in the Arab world. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 30 Oct. 2023 Its leaders and authorities were alternatively cruel and inept and — even more infuriating to Navalny — a bunch of greedy, hypocritical liars. David M. Herszenhorn, Washington Post, 27 Oct. 2023 This move might seem hypocritical to those who remember when Adams railed at Florida’s and Texas’ Republican governors for bussing migrants up to the north from the southern border. Rayna Reid Rayford, Essence, 27 Oct. 2023 Another recent example of U.S. policy that Palestinians see as hypocritical but is probably little known to most Americans involves the decision by the Biden administration to allow Israel into the visa waiver program. Daoud Kuttab, The New Republic, 24 Oct. 2023 Is this not, as some of your critics would say, hypocritical, given that? REP. Nbc Universal, NBC News, 8 Oct. 2023 Conservatives, meanwhile, said the move gave credence to Mr. Trump's signature border policy, and highlighted the announcement as an abrupt and hypocritical 180-degrees change of course by Mr. Biden. Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 5 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


hypocritic "of a hypocrite" (borrowed from Medieval Latin hypocriticus, borrowed from Greek hypokritikós "of acting, skilled in rhetorical delivery," from hypokritḗs "answerer, actor on a stage" + -ikos -ic entry 1) + -al entry 1 — more at hypocrite

First Known Use

1553, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hypocritical was in 1553

Dictionary Entries Near hypocritical

Cite this Entry

“Hypocritical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocritical. Accessed 9 Dec. 2023.

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