The Meaning of Hypocrisy: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you believe people should call out hypocrisy when they see it? This article will cover the meaning of hypocrisy and how to spot it.

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If you witness hypocrisy, do you call it out? Do you know what the word hypocrisy means? 

This article will cover the definition of the word hypocrisy and other important related information. Keep reading to learn about the origin of hypocrisy, how to use hypocrisy in a sentence, and more!

What Does Hypocrisy Mean?

Dictionary states that the noun hypocrisy has a few meanings. First and most common, hypocrisy means the pretense of having a certain type of moral or virtuous character or beliefs that a person does not possess, especially one they present to the public. 

The word hypocrisy can also refer to instances where hypocrisy is present. Hypocrisy is four syllables (hy-poc-ri-sy), and the pronunciation of hypocrisy is hɪˈpɒk rə si. If someone practices hypocrisy, they are considered a hypocrite.

What Is the Etymology of the Word Hypocrisy?

According to Dictionary, hypocrisy has been used since the late 1100s and early 1200s as the Middle English ipocrisie. This term comes from the Old French and Late Latin hypocrisis, from the Greek hypókrisis or hupokrisis, meaning play acting. Additionally, these terms come from the Greek hypokrī́nesthai, which means to play a part. 

The Greek prefix hypo and Greek krinein or krinesthai join together to form this term. In Ancient Greek, these are related to the terms ὑποκρίνομαι and ὑπό. The prefix hypo means under or beneath. 

If you learn the roots of certain words, you can decipher the definitions of many different words without looking them up. For example, what other words do you know that use the prefix hypo? 

How many other common prefixes can you think of?

How Can Hypocrisy Be Used in a Sentence?

Unfortunately, there are many examples of hypocrisy that you might see in everyday life. By studying these example sentences which contain the word hypocrisy, you can see how to use the word hypocrisy in your own vocabulary. Have you ever been hypocritical?

Example #1: A Teacher’s Hypocrisy

The students disapproved of the teacher’s hypocrisy. He would punish them harshly for turning in their work late, but it would take many months to return their graded assignments. The students felt that if it took him that long to grade their assignments, they should be given some leeway regarding the due date.

Example #2: Office Hypocrisy

The employee could not take one more instance of hypocrisy in the office. She was always told not to do things that senior management practiced frequently. She was sick of the double standards and planned on quitting. 

Example #3: A Priest’s Hypocrisy

The priest spoke to the congregation about charity and commitment, but many of the church’s members knew the real truth of his hypocrisy. The priest stole from the tithings that the members donated and used them to take a woman on lavish vacations. 

Example #4: A Politician’s Hypocrisy

The politician was called out for his hypocrisy. For example, he fought for religious freedom so that Christian and Catholic bakeries could deny LGBTQ customers their orders but imposed a ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries. In the end, the people forced him to resign.

What Are Translations of Hypocrisy?

With the help of this list of translations of hypocrisy from Nice Translator, you will be able to say the word hypocrisy in different languages in no time!

  • French: hypocrisie
  • Estonian: silmakirjalikkus
  • Greek: υποκρισία
  • Hungarian: képmutatás
  • Lithuanian: veidmainystė
  • Croatian: licemjerje
  • Swahili: unafiki
  • Ukrainian: лицемірство
  • Telugu: వంచన.
  • Gujarati: ઢોંગી
  • Swedish: hyckleri
  • Romanian: ipocrizie
  • Marathi: ढोंगीपणा
  • Japanese: 偽善
  • Hindi: पाखंड
  • Dutch: hypocrisie
  • Spanish: hipocresía
  • Czech: pokrytectví
  • Icelandic: hræsni
  • Filipino: pagpapaimbabaw
  • Finnish: tekopyhyys
  • Korean: 위선
  • Arabic: نفاق
  • Slovak: pokrytectvo
  • Portuguese (Brazil): hipocrisia
  • Welsh: hypocriseg
  • German: Heuchelei
  • Kannada: ಬೂಟಾಟಿಕೆ
  • Chinese (PRC): 虚伪
  • Russian: лицемерие
  • Slovenian: hinavščina
  • Bulgarian: лицемерие
  • Bengali: ভণ্ডামি
  • Urdu: منافق
  • Serbian: лицемерје
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 虛偽
  • Basque: hipokresia
  • Polish: hipokryzja
  • Tamil: பாசாங்குத்தனம்
  • Catalan: hipocresia
  • Danish: hykleri.
  • Latvian: liekulība
  • Turkish: ikiyüzlülük
  • Italian: ipocrisia
  • Amharic: ግብዝነት
  • Thai: ความหน้าซื่อใจคด
  • Hebrew: צְבִיעוּת
  • Indonesian: kemunafikan
  • Malayalam: കാപട്യം
  • Malay: kemunafikan
  • Portuguese (Portugal): hipocrisia
  • Norwegian: Hykleri

What Are Synonyms of Hypocrisy?

Power Thesaurus lists many words that can be subbed in for the word hypocrisy. If you have used the word hypocrisy repeatedly in sentences or are looking for a word with a different connotation, referencing a list of synonyms is a great place to start.

  • affectation
  • artificiality
  • bigotry
  • casuistry
  • charlatanism
  • chicanery
  • deceit
  • deceitfulness
  • deception
  • dishonesty
  • dissembling
  • dissimulation
  • double standard
  • double-dealing
  • duplicity
  • empty talk
  • falsehood
  • falseness
  • falsity
  • fraud
  • fraudulence
  • glibness
  • guile
  • hollow words
  • humbug
  • hypocritical
  • hypocriticalness
  • insincerity
  • lip service
  • lying
  • mendacity
  • pharisaicalness
  • pharisaism
  • phoniness
  • pietism
  • posturing
  • pretence
  • pretense
  • pretension
  • quackery
  • sanctimoniousness
  • sanctimony
  • self-righteousness
  • sham
  • speciousness
  • tartuffery
  • treachery
  • two-facedness
  • unctuousness
  • underhandedness

What Are Antonyms of Hypocrisy?

To refer to something honest or sincere, you can use an antonym of hypocrisy from Power Thesaurus. Learning antonyms of words like hypocrisy is a great way to remember their definition in your mind.

  • accuracy
  • advance
  • advancement
  • aid
  • allegiance
  • assistance
  • attendance
  • attention
  • authenticity
  • authority
  • backing
  • benefaction
  • benefit
  • bluntness
  • bona fides
  • candidness
  • candor
  • charity
  • constancy
  • correctness
  • directness
  • earnestness
  • fair dealing
  • fairness
  • faithfulness
  • forthrightness
  • frankness
  • genuineness
  • good faith
  • guilelessness
  • honesty
  • honor
  • impartiality
  • integrity
  • justice
  • lawfulness
  • legality
  • morality
  • naturalness
  • openheartedness
  • openness
  • outspokenness
  • probity
  • purity
  • rectitude
  • right
  • righteousness
  • sincereness
  • sincerity
  • straightforwardness
  • straightness
  • trustworthiness
  • truth
  • truthfulness
  • uprightness
  • veracity
  • verity


The definition of hypocrisy is the pretense of some set of beliefs or moral character without them being present. If someone practices hypocrisy, you can say that they are a hypocrite or hypocritical. It is important to be steadfast in your beliefs and not a hypocrite. 

Have you ever called out hypocrisy before?


  1. Hypocrisy synonyms – 769 Words and Phrases for Hypocrisy | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Hypocrisy antonyms – 603 Opposites of Hypocrisy | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Hypocrisy Definition & Meaning | 
  4. Hypocrisy | Nice Translator