Hypocrisy Meaning: What Does it Mean?

In our daily lives, we often encounter situations where actions and words don’t seem to match up. This brings us to a word that describes such a mismatch, a term that points out a certain kind of fairness problem. It’s a concept discussed in classrooms, workplaces, and news stories around the world. Let’s explore this idea that challenges us to think about honesty and how we live up to our own standards.

Key Takeaways

  • Hypocrisy involves acts of pretending to hold certain beliefs or virtues that one does not truly possess.
  • It is important to understand social trust and ethical behavior.
  • Different contexts may influence the perception and consequences of hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy Meaning

Hypocrisy Meaning: What Does it Mean? Pin

What Does “Hypocrisy” Mean?

The term hypocrisy refers to the act of pretending to hold beliefs, attitudes, or virtues that one does not actually possess. It’s a form of deception where a person acts in a way that is contradictory to their stated beliefs or feelings.

  • Behavioral hypocrisy: Claiming to subscribe to a set of ethics, like honesty or transparency, while engaging in behaviors that contradict those values.

Origin of Hypocrisy

The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek hupokrisis, which originally referred to the act of playing a part on the stage, thus linking it to pretending or acting. Over time, it came to be associated with the moral and social concept of feigning virtue or pretending to be more righteous than one’s behavior suggests.


Greek term Definition in Greek context Adaptation in English
hupokrisis Acting on the stage Pretense of virtue

Other Meanings of Hypocrisy

While the primary context of hypocrisy is moral and ethical pretense, the term can also extend to various other situations where inconsistencies between actions and declarations are present. These could include political, religious, or social dimensions, where the disconnection between what is professed and what is practiced is evident.

  • Political hypocrisy: When the actions of politicians or governments do not align with their proclaimed policies or promises.
  • Social hypocrisy: When societal norms or expectations are upheld in discourse but disregarded in practice.

Commonly Confused Terms with Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy vs. Hypocracy

Hypocrisy is the act of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. Hypocracy is a common misspelling and does not have a recognized definition in the English language. Ensuring the correct use of hypocrisy avoids confusion.

Hypocrisy vs. Irony

While hypocrisy involves a discrepancy between what one professes and what one does, irony can be a literary device or a situation that’s interesting due to an occurrence of the opposite of what is expected. Irony doesn’t necessarily involve a moral claim, unlike hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy vs. Hypocrite

Hypocrisy is the concept or act of inconsistency between beliefs and actions. A hypocrite, on the other hand, is a person who engages in hypocrisy. It’s crucial to distinguish that hypocrisy refers to the behavior, while a hypocrite is the individual exhibiting that behavior.

Hypocrisy vs. Contradictory

Hypocrisy involves a false display of virtues or beliefs. Contradictory actions or statements are just at odds with each other and do not imply a facade of moral standards. Contradictory can indicate a logical opposition without the moral judgement that comes with hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy Examples

In Conversations

In the Workplace:

  • Person 1: “Did you catch the manager’s talk on office gossip this morning?”
  • Person 2: “I did. It’s ironic, though, considering I’ve heard them spreading rumors just last week.”
  • Person 1: “That’s the hypocrisy for you. Preaching one thing and practicing another.”
  • Person 2: “It really erodes trust, doesn’t it? How are we expected to follow guidelines that even the manager ignores?”
  • Person 1: “Agreed. Actions speak louder than words, especially in leadership.”

Among Friends:

  • Person 1: “You know, it’s really bugging me. Mark was lecturing us about recycling at the party last night.”
  • Person 2: “Yeah, I remember. But why is it bothering you?”
  • Person 1: “Well, I saw him throw his soda can in the trash earlier that day. It’s just hypocrisy.”
  • Person 2: “Seriously? That’s pretty disappointing. If you’re going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk.”
  • Person 1: “Exactly. It’s hard to take his environmental speeches seriously when he doesn’t follow his own advice.”

In Texting and Social Posts

  • “Can’t believe you’re preaching about the importance of charity when you’ve never donated a dime. #hypocrisy”
  • “Love how some people rant about environmental conservation yet leave their trash everywhere at the park. 😒 #hypocrisy”
  • “Why post about healthy eating when all you do is upload pics of fast food? 🤔 #DoAsISayNotAsIDo #hypocrisy”
  • “Complaining about noise pollution with your music blasting 24/7… really? #hypocrisy”
  • “Says ‘Family First’ but is always too busy for family gatherings. #hypocrisy”
  • “Posts about the dangers of screen time but spends all day on their phone. #hypocrisy”
  • “Gotta love the ‘I hate drama’ crowd that’s always stirring the pot. #hypocrisy”
  • “You criticize people for gossiping yet you’re the first to spread rumors. #hypocrisy”
  • “Posting about self-love and then shaming others for their choices. That’s not cool. #hypocrisy”
  • “Calling for respectful debates online but then attacking anyone who disagrees with you. #hypocrisy”

Usage of Hypocrisy in Different Contexts

When we discuss “hypocrisy”, we’re referring to the behavior of pretending to hold beliefs, virtues, or principles that one does not actually possess. This term can be quite adaptable depending on the situation.

In social contexts, we often find hypocrisy in the mismatch between what people say and do. For example, a community leader might preach about the importance of charity, yet fail to contribute themselves.

In the political arena, our politicians might profess transparency and integrity, yet engage in corruption or deceit. Their public and private personas can often be starkly contrasting.

Within religious settings, accusations of hypocrisy might stem from individuals who portray deep piety yet exhibit unethical behavior in their personal lives. It’s a criticism that reflects the expectation of consistency in one’s actions and stated moral beliefs.

Cultural discussions on hypocrisy may relate to societal norms. We might criticize a society that promotes equality but maintains systems of discrimination.

Here’s a tabular example of hypocrisy across various contexts:

Context Hypocrisy Example
Social Advocating for environmentalism, but excessively polluting.
Political Lobbying for anti-corruption laws, yet accepting bribes.
Religious Preaching about generosity, but acting selfishly.
Cultural Endorsing gender equity, but practicing discrimination.

We use the term to hold ourselves and others accountable to the standards we claim to endorse. It’s a word that carries weight because it underscores the integrity of our beliefs and the authenticity of our actions.

More about Hypocrisy Terminology

Related Terms to Hypocrisy

  • Duplicity: This term refers to the contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action; especially, the belying of one’s true intentions by deceptive words or action.
  • Pretense: Often goes hand-in-hand with hypocrisy, implying a false show of something, like pretending an intention or opinion that is not truly held.

Synonyms to Hypocrisy

  • Insincerity: Not being open and truthful; not expressing genuine feelings.
  • Falsehood: The act of misrepresenting the truth or being deceitful.
  • Deceit: Concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading.
  • Dissimulation: Hiding of one’s feelings or purposes.

Antonyms to Hypocrisy

  • Sincerity: The quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy.
  • Authenticity: Being genuine, not copied or false; represents truth and accuracy.

Last Updated on January 20, 2024

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