self-righ·​teous ˌself-ˈrī-chəs How to pronounce self-righteous (audio)
: convinced of one's own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others : narrow-mindedly moralistic
self-righteously adverb
self-righteousness noun

Examples of self-righteous in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While religious iconography abounds — and makes for some handy weapons, in a pinch — Cecilia’s crisis isn’t one of faith but of bodily autonomy, an indictment of self-righteous authority figures who use religion to gaslight and control female bodies. Jen Yamato, Washington Post, 20 Mar. 2024 Mariko is a more reserved, subtle character who lights up the screen, even without self-righteous tirades. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 28 Feb. 2024 Braugher first rose to fame as a dramatic actor on Homicide: Life on the Street, portraying Frank Pembleton, a self-righteous, unyielding Baltimore police detective. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 12 Dec. 2023 During the controversial match, Williams exploded in self-righteous fury at officiating decisions, briefly turning the crowd against Osaka and leaving her in tears even in victory. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 9 Jan. 2024 Were postwar luminaries, such as the Belgian socialist leader Paul-Henri Spaak and Yugoslav President Josip Broz Tito, really towering figures compared with whom former German Chancellor Angela Merkel is but a self-righteous naive who underestimated Russian President Vladimir Putin? Foreign Affairs, 12 Dec. 2023 In this case, the self-righteous stalker-invader is her father, Jacob (Ben Mendelsohn), who raised her in a cabin in the marshland wilderness of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, teaching her how to hunt and survive. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 2 Nov. 2023 If Harbaugh is implicated as knowing, then the punishment will worsen dramatically and he will be sent to the social media gallows as a self-righteous fraud. J. Brady McCollough, Los Angeles Times, 21 Oct. 2023 Their exchange is terse and extremely one-sided in favor of the self-righteous Bosch. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 20 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-righteous.' 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

circa 1680, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-righteous was circa 1680

Dictionary Entries Near self-righteous

Cite this Entry

“Self-righteous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: strongly convinced of the rightness of one's actions or beliefs
self-righteously adverb
self-righteousness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on self-righteous

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