impostor syndrome


variants or imposter syndrome
: a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one's abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one's ongoing success
Plucked from semi-obscurity to replace Ann Landers, who died in 2002, Amy Dickinson suffered bouts of imposter syndrome: Who was she to give advice to the millions who read Landers' syndicated column?Kim Hubbard
Former US first lady Michelle Obama on Thursday urged girls to resist the "impostor syndrome" she had felt on the way up and fight men for power, saying plenty of them didn't deserve it.Lih Yi Beh

Examples of impostor syndrome in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And that’s probably down to a little bit of impostor syndrome. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, Pitchfork, 16 Nov. 2023 How can a person escape the mental trap that is impostor syndrome? Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 The stand-up comedian’s sharp memoir recounts her experiences navigating impostor syndrome, creating art during the pandemic and grappling with her depression — named Brenda — in its many forms. New York Times, 22 Sep. 2023 Movies How Leslie Odom Jr. overcame imposter syndrome as Sam Cooke in ‘One Night in Miami...’ April 15, 2021 Winfrey is not the first celebrity to talk about impostor syndrome. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 14 Sep. 2023 How can someone struggling with impostor syndrome and perfectionism silence their inner critic to develop confidence? Dominique Fluker, Essence, 25 Aug. 2023 Make sure not to trigger impostor syndrome in others by never saying anything remotely nice about anybody else. Ivan Ehlers, The New Yorker, 24 June 2023 Some spoke of carrying an extra layer of impostor syndrome. Amy Harmon, New York Times, 21 June 2023 Explore See latest videos, charts and news On the latest episode, Halestorm’s lead singer Lzzy Hale details her experience with anxiety and impostor syndrome. Quincy Green, Billboard, 23 May 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1982, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of impostor syndrome was in 1982

Dictionary Entries Near impostor syndrome

Cite this Entry

“Impostor syndrome.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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