noun, plural hy·poc·ri·sies.
  1. a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess.
  2. a pretense of having some desirable or publicly approved attitude.
  3. an act or instance of hypocrisy.

Origin of hypocrisy

1175–1225; Middle English ipocrisie < Old French < Late Latin hypocrisis < Greek hypókrisis play acting, equivalent to hypokrī́(nesthai) to play a part, explain (hypo- hypo- + krī́nein to distinguish, separate) + -sis -sis; h- (reintroduced in 16th century) < Latin and Greek
Related formshy·per·hy·poc·ri·sy, noun

Synonym study

1. See duplicity.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hypocrisies

Contemporary Examples of hypocrisies

Historical Examples of hypocrisies

  • Go back to the lies and hypocrisies of society, and the brainless, mashers who adorn it!

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • Of what good were these hypocrisies, and whom did they deceive?

  • Believe you that you can dupe me by your hypocrisies and base flatteries?

    The Key to the Bront Works

    John Malham-Dembleby

  • Shall we continue to close our eyes to the hypocrisies of the church?

    Idling in Italy

    Joseph Collins

  • What prohibitions, what hypocrisies, what responsibilities, what sorrows!

    Soliloquies in England

    George Santayana

British Dictionary definitions for hypocrisies


noun plural -sies
  1. the practice of professing standards, beliefs, etc, contrary to one's real character or actual behaviour, esp the pretence of virtue and piety
  2. an act or instance of this
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 hypocrisies



c.1200, ipocrisie, from Old French ypocrisie, from Late Latin hypocrisis, from Greek hypokrisis "acting on the stage, pretense," from hypokrinesthai "play a part, pretend," also "answer," from hypo- "under" (see sub-) + middle voice of krinein "to sift, decide" (see crisis). The sense evolution in Attic Greek is from "separate gradually" to "answer" to "answer a fellow actor on stage" to "play a part." The h- was restored in English 16c.

Hypocrisy is the art of affecting qualities for the purpose of pretending to an undeserved virtue. Because individuals and institutions and societies most often live down to the suspicions about them, hypocrisy and its accompanying equivocations underpin the conduct of life. Imagine how frightful truth unvarnished would be. [Benjamin F. Martin, "France in 1938," 2005]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper