The actual definition of “hypocrisy”

Justin Taylor, my editor at Crossway, points out many people who use the word “hypocrisy” do not know what it actually means.  It isn’t not practicing what you preach, but not believing what you say you do. 

From How to Stop Misusing the Word “Hypocrisy” – Justin Taylor:

Boston College philosopher Peter Kreeft:

The common, modern misunderstanding of hypocrisy [is] not practicing what you preach. . . . Actually, we have misdefined “hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy is not the failure to practice what you preach but the failure to believe it. Hypocrisy is propaganda.

The great art critic William Hazlitt (1778-1830):

He is a hypocrite who professes what he does not believe; not he who does not practice all he wishes or approves.

The American Heritage Dictionary:

[Hypocrisy is] the practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.

Inigo Montoya:

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.


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