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From Middle English ipocrisie, from Old French ypocrisie, from Late Latin hypocrisis, from Ancient Greek ὑπόκρισις (hupókrisis, answer, stage acting, pretense), from ὑποκρίνομαι (hupokrínomai, I answer (a fellow actor on stage), play a part, dissemble, feign), from ὑπό (hupó, under, equivalent of the modern "hypo-" prefix) + the middle voice of κρίνω (krínō, I separate, judge, decide).

Displaced native Old English līċettung.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /hɪˈpɒkɹəsi/
  • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /hɪˈpɑkɹəsi/


hypocrisy (countable and uncountable, plural hypocrisies)

  1. The contrivance of a false appearance of virtue or goodness, while concealing real character or inclinations, especially with respect to religious and moral beliefs; hence in general sense, dissimulation, pretence, sham.
  2. The claim or pretense of having beliefs, standards, qualities, behaviours, virtues, motivations, etc. which one does not really have. [from early 13th c.]
  3. The practice of engaging in the same behaviour or activity for which one criticises another; moral self-contradiction whereby the behavior of one or more people belies their own claimed or implied possession of certain beliefs, standards or virtues.
  4. An instance of hypocrisy.


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