[sangk-tuh-moh-nee-uh s]


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 formssanc·ti·mo·ni·ous·ly, adverbsanc·ti·mo·ni·ous·ness, nounnon·sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous, adjectivenon·sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous·ly, adverbnon·sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous·ness, nounun·sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous, adjectiveun·sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous·ly, adverbun·sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sanctimonious

Contemporary Examples of sanctimonious

Historical Examples of sanctimonious

  • "If ever there was a sanctimonious hypocrite it's that Mrs. Cripps," she declared.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • If ever I ran afoul of a sanctimonious pair of hypocrites they're the pair.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Who do you think you're kidding, Bev, you sanctimonious hypocrite—me?

    Masters of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith

  • He saw that a year at Dunwood House had produced a sanctimonious prig.

    The Longest Journey

    E. M. Forster

  • I don't know why you should have taken it into your head all of a sudden to be so sanctimonious.

British Dictionary definitions for sanctimonious



affecting piety or making a display of holiness
Derived Formssanctimoniously, adverbsanctimoniousness, nounsanctimony, noun

Word Origin for sanctimonious

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

Word Origin and History for sanctimonious

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