[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. sanchez,
  2. sancho panza,
  3. sanctification,
  4. sanctified,
  5. sanctify,
  6. sanctimoniously,
  7. sanctimony,
  8. sanction,
  9. sanction mark,
  10. sanctions

Origin of sanctimonious

First recorded in 1595–1605; sanctimony + -ous

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for sanctimoniousness

British Dictionary definitions for sanctimoniousness


/ (ˌsæŋktɪˈməʊnɪəs) /


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 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