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Origin of hamartia

1890–95; < Greek: a fault, equivalent to hamart- (base of hamartánein to err) + -ia -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for hamartia


Examples from the Web for hamartia

Historical Examples of hamartia

  • Hamartia means originally a 'bad shot' or 'error', but is currently used for 'offence' or 'sin'.

    The Poetics


  • That is not unmotived, however; it is of Aspatia's own choosing and of Amintor's hamartia.

    Francis Beaumont: Dramatist

    Charles Mills Gayley

  • The pathetic devotion of Aspatia is essential to our understanding of Amintor's tragic weakness, his hamartia.

    Francis Beaumont: Dramatist

    Charles Mills Gayley

British Dictionary definitions for hamartia


  1. literature the flaw in character which leads to the downfall of the protagonist in a tragedy

Word Origin for hamartia

C19: from Greek
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

Word Origin and History for hamartia

Greek, literally "fault, failure, guilt," from hamartanein "to fail of one's purpose; to err, sin," originally "to miss the mark."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hamartia in Medicine


[hä′mär-tēə, hə-märshē-ə]
  1. A developmental defect characterized by the abnormal arrangement or combination of tissues normally present in a specific area.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.