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From Ancient Greek ἁμαρτία (hamartia), meaning error or failure. From the verb ἁμαρτάνω hamartanō, "to miss the mark".


hamartia ‎(usually uncountable, plural hamartias)

  1. The tragic flaw of the protagonist in a literary tragedy.
    Creon's main and foremost hamartia was his excessive pride.
    • 2014 October 21, Oliver Brown, “Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities: Bladerunner's punishment for killing Reeva Steenkamp is but a frippery when set against the burden that her bereft parents, June and Barry, must carry [print version: No room for sentimentality in this tragedy, 13 September 2014, p. S22]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Sport)[1]:
      But ever since the concept of "hamartia" recurred through Aristotle's Poetics, in an attempt to describe man's ingrained iniquity, our impulse has been to identify a telling defect in those brought suddenly and dramatically low.
  2. (Christianity) sin