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[sangk-tuh-moh-nee-uh s] /ˌsæŋk təˈmoʊ ni əs/
making a hypocritical show of religious devotion, piety, righteousness, etc.:
They resented his sanctimonious comments on immorality in America.
Obsolete. holy; sacred.
Origin of sanctimonious
First recorded in 1595-1605; sanctimony + -ous
Related forms
sanctimoniously, adverb
sanctimoniousness, noun
nonsanctimonious, adjective
nonsanctimoniously, adverb
nonsanctimoniousness, noun
unsanctimonious, adjective
unsanctimoniously, adverb
unsanctimoniousness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sanctimoniousness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He has a sharp round face which has not been spoiled by sanctimoniousness.

  • I feel sure we generally miss the force of these words through our Caucasian sanctimoniousness.

  • Thus the novel fires many a sanctimoniousness, makes lurid many a hesitating life.

    A Novelist on Novels W. L. George
  • Tall and lean, immaculate and trim, he exhales an atmosphere of sanctimoniousness.

    Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist Alexander Berkman
  • Last week three of his 'prentices bolted because they could not stand his sanctimoniousness any longer.

    The Day of Wrath Maurus Jkai
  • All must admit his ability and learning, while in sanctimoniousness of deportment he was unrivalled.

  • Others may call such jealous searchings of spirit “sanctimoniousness” and “enthusiasm.”

    The Mind of Jesus John R. Macduff
  • True sanctity and sanctimoniousness are entirely different things.

    Practical Religion

    John Charles Ryle
British Dictionary definitions for sanctimoniousness


affecting piety or making a display of holiness
Derived Forms
sanctimoniously, adverb
sanctimoniousness, noun
sanctimony, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin sanctimonia sanctity, from sanctus holy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sanctimoniousness



c.1600 (in "Measure for Measure," with the disparaging sense "making a show of sanctity, affecting an appearance of holiness"), from sanctimony + -ous. The un-ironic, literal sense was used occasionally in English from c.1600 to c.1800. Related: Sanctimoniously; sanctimoniousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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