Hypocrite Meaning: What Is A Hypocrite?

As you continue to develop your English language skills, you’ll encounter words like “hypocrite” that hold various layers of meaning and can impact communication in diverse ways. In this article, we’ll explore the multifaceted usage of “hypocrite” in different contexts, aiming to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its connotations and applications. By examining real-life examples and scenarios, you’ll gain insight into the nuanced meanings behind this word and how it influences interpersonal interactions and perceptions.

Key Takeaways

  • A hypocrite is someone who pretends to have beliefs or values they do not genuinely possess.
  • The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word hypokritēs, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.”
  • Hypocrite should not be confused with “double standard” or “narcissist”.

Hypocrite Meaning

Hypocrite Meaning: What Is A Hypocrite?

What Does Hypocrite Mean?

A hypocrite is a person who pretends to possess certain beliefs, virtues, or principles they don’t actually have. They often behave in a way that contradicts their stated beliefs, portraying a false appearance of virtue or religion. In simpler terms, a hypocrite is someone who doesn’t practice what they preach.

Origin of Hypocrite

The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek word hypokritēs, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” This term is fitting as hypocrites often put on a performance, concealing their true feelings and motives behind a carefully crafted facade.

Terms Commonly Confused with Hypocrite

In this section, we’ll explore two terms often confused with “hypocrite”: double standard and narcissist.

Hypocrite vs. Double Standard

A hypocrite is someone who claims to have certain moral beliefs, values, or principles but behaves in a way that contradicts them. For example, a person who preaches about honesty but lies frequently is a hypocrite.

On the other hand, a double standard refers to an unfair or biased set of moral, social, or ethical rules that apply differently to different people or situations. Double standards can be exhibited by individuals, institutions, or societies. Here’s a comparison to help you distinguish the two:

Term Definition Example
Hypocrite A person who acts contrary to their stated beliefs or values A politician who promotes environmental conservation but takes frequent private jet flights
Double Standard A biased or unfair set of rules for different people or situations Judging a coworker harshly for taking a personal call during work, while frequently doing the same yourself

Hypocrite vs. Narcissist

While a hypocrite contradicts their professed beliefs or values, a narcissist is someone with an excessive love or admiration for oneself. Narcissists often display a sense of entitlement, a need for constant admiration, and a lack of empathy for others.

Although both hypocrites and narcissists might behave in self-serving ways, their motivations and characteristics are different. Here’s a comparison to guide you:

Term Focus Core Characteristics Example
Hypocrite Contradictory behavior Discrepancy between actions and stated beliefs or values A self-proclaimed vegan who secretly eats meat products
Narcissist Self-interest and admiration Excessive self-love, entitlement, need for admiration, and lack of empathy A person who brags about their success and disregards the feelings or achievements of others

Hypocrite Examples

Examples of Hypocrite in Conversations

In everyday conversations, you might come across instances when someone is being called a hypocrite. Here are a few examples:

Conversation 1

  • Person A: I can’t believe John told us not to waste paper, and then he printed a 100-page document for his personal use.
  • Person B: Ugh, he’s such a hypocrite!

Conversation 2

  • Person A: Did you see that Jane shared a post about being environmentally conscious, but she took a flight for a weekend getaway?
  • Person B: Yeah, she’s a bit of a hypocrite, isn’t she?

Examples of Hypocrite in Texting and Social Posts

Hypocrite is also used in texting and social media, typically to point out someone’s contradictory behavior. Keep in mind, the tone may vary. Here are a few examples:

  • Tweet: Can’t believe my coworker is lecturing us about being punctual when they’re always late to work. #hypocrite
  • Text Message: I thought our friend said they were on a diet, yet they keep posting pics of fast food. ???? What a hypocrite!

Other Examples of Hypocrite

In various contexts, you might also find people labeled as hypocrites. Some examples include:

  • Movies and TV Shows: Characters who profess strong morals but engage in immoral activities can be viewed as hypocrites.
  • Politics: Politicians who contradict their stated beliefs or promises with their actions can be called hypocrites.
  • Workplace: Colleagues or supervisors who enforce rules on others while breaking them themselves might be deemed hypocritical.

Usage of Hypocrite in Different Contexts

Hypocrite is a noun used to describe a person who claims to have particular moral beliefs but behaves in a way that contradicts those beliefs. In essence, it labels someone who is insincere and dishonest in their actions, especially in regards to their moral principles. Let’s now explore various contexts to help you grasp the usage of this term better.

Personal relationships

In friendships or romantic relationships, you might come across individuals who act as hypocrites. For instance, a person might criticize a friend for being dishonest, yet they themselves spread lies and deceit.

  • Example: Don’t trust him; he’s a hypocrite who pretends to be a loyal friend, but I saw him gossiping about you behind your back.

Politics and public figures

It is quite common for politicians and public figures to be accused of hypocrisy, as they may hold themselves to higher moral standards in front of the public but fail to live up to those standards behind closed doors.

  • Example: Many citizens consider the senator a hypocrite for supporting public healthcare while secretly using private healthcare services.

Environment and social issues

Individuals can also be labeled as hypocrites when they advocate for causes, such as environmental protection or social justice, but do not practice what they preach in their own lives.

  • Example: She talks about saving the environment but drives a gas-guzzling SUV to work every day – such a hypocrite!


In a professional context, hypocritical behavior may involve actions like criticizing others for being a few minutes late to a meeting, while they themselves frequently arrive late or miss meetings altogether.

  • Example: I can’t believe our manager called you out for being late this morning, considering he’s always late to our team meetings. What a hypocrite!

More About Hypocrite Terminology

Terms Related to Hypocrite

Here are some key terms related to hypocrite, as it will enhance your understanding of the concept:

  • Insincerity: The quality of not being genuine or truthful in one’s feelings or actions.
  • Deception: The act of deliberately making someone believe something that is not true.
  • Inconsistency: The state of not staying true to one’s proclaimed beliefs or values.

Synonyms for Hypocrite

Some common synonyms that can replace “hypocrite” in different contexts are:

  • Dissembler
  • Phony
  • Pretender
  • Charlatan
  • Deceiver

Antonyms for Hypocrite

While hypocrites pretend to have values they don’t possess, some antonyms reflect sincerity and authenticity. Here are some antonyms for “hypocrite”:

  • Genuine person
  • Sincere person
  • Honest person
  • Authentic person

Hypocrite Word Family

Let’s explore the word family of “hypocrite” to understand its various forms better.

  • Hypocritical (adjective): Describing an action or person that doesn’t align with their stated beliefs or values.
  • Hypocritically (adverb): In a hypocritical manner; performing actions that are inconsistent with one’s proclaimed beliefs or values.
  • Hypocrisy (noun): The practice of professing values or beliefs while not adhering to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

What example best illustrates the behavior of a hypocrite?

A classic example of a hypocrite is someone who constantly advises others on the importance of environmental conservation but drives a large, gas-guzzling vehicle for their personal use. This person claims to hold strong moral beliefs about protecting the environment but acts in a manner that contradicts those very beliefs. In other words, their actions do not align with the principles they claim to support.

In which situations is the term ‘hypocrite’ most commonly used?

The term ‘hypocrite’ is commonly used in situations where an individual’s actions do not match the morals, opinions, or beliefs they claim to hold. It is often applied when discussing topics related to politics, religion, or ethical issues. For example, you might call someone a hypocrite if they advocate for honesty and integrity in politics but are caught indulging in corrupt practices. Similarly, a person who outwardly promotes a healthy lifestyle but indulges in harmful habits privately may also be considered a hypocrite.