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

Do you know the definition of hypocritical? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word hypocritical, including its definition, usage, example sentences, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the word hypocritical mean? 

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Hypocritical (pronunciation: hip-oh-crit-ə-cal) is an adjective that describes someone who is characterized by behavior that contradicts what they claim to believe or think. This person might act in contradiction to their stated beliefs or feelings. Dealing with a hypocrite can be very frustrating. You might be able to recognize a hypocrite if there is a person that you know who is always talking about their own beliefs, opinions, or morals, but then they are seen performing the opposite of those beliefs or opinions.

Many different languages also contain their own words that mean hypocritical. You may notice that some of these words look and sound similar. These are called cognates. Cognates are words and phrases that look and sound similar between languages, and also have a similar meaning. Cognates are often formed when words have the same language of origin such as Latin or Greek, or the same route. This list of translations for the word hypocritical is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Spanish: mocho‎
  •  Maori: arerorua‎, ngutukau‎
  •  Swedish: hycklande‎, skenhelig‎
  •  Catalan: hipòcrita‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Hebrew: צבוע‎
  •  French: hypocrite‎
  •  Afrikaans: skynheilig‎
  •  Portuguese: hipócrita‎
  •  Norwegian: hyklete‎, skinnhellig‎, tilgjort‎
  •  Russian: лицеме́рный‎, ха́нжеский‎
  •  Hungarian: álszent‎
  •  Finnish: tekopyhä‎
  •  German: heuchlerisch‎
  •  Mandarin: 虛偽‎, 虚伪‎ (xūwěi), 假惺惺‎ (jiǎxīngxīng), (morally) 偽善‎, 伪善‎ (wěishàn)
  •  Romanian: ipocrit‎
  •  Scottish Gaelic: dà-aodannach‎
  •  Dutch: hypocriet‎, schijnheilig‎
  •  Czech: pokrytecký‎ (masc.)
  •  Esperanto: hipokrita‎
  •  Italian: ipocrita‎

How can the word hypocritical be used in a sentence? 

Hypocritical can be used in many different sentences in the English language. Often, someone will accuse someone else of being hypocritical or practicing hypocrisy. This can happen when they see or hear someone spouting their own beliefs or making judgments of others, but then they themselves do not practice these same beliefs. Below are a few examples. 

The woman thought that the indoor holiday parties that the task force was throwing were hypocritical. They preached about keeping social distance and the conscious use of a mask, but they did not practice the same moral standards.

Some people believe that Gavin Newsom is being hypocritical by hosting a dinner party during the pandemic. Some have cynicism and believe that this lack of transparency is political hypocrisy; the world will know when it comes to the ballot box who believes in their own government, or who is just in it for political benefit.

The student at Princeton University thought her roommate was being hypocritical. She made fun of her for the proliferation of cheugy mascot support that Becca showed, but meanwhile wore Ugg boots yesterday, had Snapchat filters on her dating profiles, and was a fan of the yellow panopticon in overalls and literal cyclops: the Minion. She didn’t know how much longer she could take the mental terror from the basic ass bitch. She thought her roommate was the embodiment of cheug in the eyes of others.

Kristen couldn’t believe the kinds of hypocritical deception that her supposed friend was trying to pull on her. She thought that they both had moral rules and moral psychology, but her friend’s own behavior and hypocritical views were shocking. 

What is the origin of the word hypocritical? 

According to Etymonline, the word hypocritical has been used since the 1540s, implied in the adverb hypocritically. This comes from the noun hypocritic, which was used in the same sense. Middle English used hypocrite as the adjective in the year 1400 as well as the noun. This comes from the Greek hypokritikos or Ancient Greek ὑποκρίνομαι. Related words include hypocrisy (n.), hypocritically (adv.), and hypocrite (n.). 

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word hypocritical? 

There are a lot of different words in the English language that a person can use in place of the word hypocritical. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as another word or phrase. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself in written or spoken English, and they are also a great tool for expanding your vocabulary. This list of synonyms for the word hypocritical is provided by Thesaurus.

  •  artificial
  •  bland
  •  false
  •  lying
  •  pietistic
  •  dissembling
  •  deluding
  •  pretending
  •  fraudulent
  •  deceptive
  •  moralistic
  •  sanctimonious
  •  specious
  •  fishy
  •  captious
  •  faithless
  •  smooth-tongued
  •  hollow
  •  smooth-spoken
  •  phony
  •  affected
  •  double
  •  feigning
  •  snide
  •  two-faced
  •  oily
  •  caviling
  •  insincere
  •  unnatural
  •  self-righteous
  •  canting
  •  unctuous
  •  pious
  •  assuming
  •  smooth
  •  left-handed
  •  double-dealing
  •  deceitful
  •  unreliable
  •  spurious
  •  pharisaical
  •  duplicitous
  •  jivey
  •  glib

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of the word hypocritical. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another great way to expand your English language vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word hypocritical is provided by Thesaurus

  •  undesigning
  •  certain
  •  reliable
  •  trustworthy
  •  sterling
  •  absolute
  •  unquestionable
  •  sincere
  •  valid
  •  up front
  •  precise
  •  artless
  •  well-established
  •  official
  •  factual
  •  real
  •  plain
  •  literal
  •  proved
  •  sound
  •  positive
  •  indubitable
  •  earnest
  •  known
  •  original
  •  bona fide
  •  frank
  •  pure
  •  hard
  •  unpretended
  •  good
  •  true
  •  heartfelt
  •  accurate
  •  kosher
  •  unfeigned
  •  honest
  •  legitimate
  •  actual
  •  righteous
  •  natural
  •  genuine
  •  palpable
  •  exact
  •  candid
  •  open
  •  demonstrable
  •  unimpeachable
  •  24-carat

Overall, the word hypocritical means someone who does not practice what they preach. This person might spout all kinds of opinions but not actually let their behavior fall in line with these opinions of beliefs. The word hypocritical is often used in the English language. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! You never know, it might become one of your new favorite words. 


  1. hypocritical: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. HYPOCRITICAL Synonyms: 57 Synonyms & Antonyms for HYPOCRITICAL | Thesaurus 
  3. GENUINE Synonyms: 82 Synonyms & Antonyms for GENUINE | Thesaurus 
  4. hypocritical | Origin and meaning of hypocritical | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Hypocritical | Definition of Hypocritical | Merriam-Webster