Trend Watch

Bloomberg: 'The Richest Thing About Donald Trump Is His Hypocrisy'

Lookups for 'hypocrisy' spiked after Bloomberg used the word in his speech at the Democratic National Convention

Lookups for hypocrisy (“the act or practice of pretending to be what one is not or to have principles or beliefs that one does not have”) spiked after the word was used in Michael Bloomberg's speech at the Democratic National Convention. The former New York City mayor was bluntly critical of presidential candidate Donald Trump:

Truth be told, the richest thing about Donald Trump is his hypocrisy. He wants you to believe that we can solve our biggest problems by deporting Mexicans and shutting out Muslims. He wants you to believe that erecting trade barriers will bring back good jobs. He's wrong on both counts.
Transcript of Michael Bloomberg's DNC Speech,, 27 July 2016

Hypocrisy in a relatively old word in English, with its use dating back to the 13th century. For the first several centuries of its use the word was spelled with an initial I or Y; it began to be spelled with an H in the 16th century. The word can be traced back to the Greek hypokrisis, which is defined as “the act of playing a part on the stage"; the word took on an extended meaning to refer to the act of wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something that one was not.

Hypocrite is of a similar age as hypocrisy, with regular use in English from the 13th century. The adjective hypocritical is of a slightly more recent vintage, with our earliest citation occurring in 1536, in Philipp Melanchthon’s The Confessyon of the Fayth of the Germaynes: “He speakethe not of those hypocriticall satisfactions, whiche schole men do imagine euen than also to be auayllable to the redemynge of the paynes of Purgatory, or of other paynes, whan they be done of them, whiche be in deadely synne.”

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