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How to pronounce sanctimonious (audio)

Dictionary definition of sanctimonious

Making a show of being morally superior to others in a hypocritical, condescending, or self-righteous way.
"She gave a sanctimonious speech about the importance of charity."

Detailed meaning of sanctimonious

The term "sanctimonious" is an adjective that is used to describe a person who is excessively or hypocritically pious or morally self-righteous. A person who is sanctimonious is often seen as pretending to be morally superior to others, or as making a show of being very religious or moral, even though their actions or behavior do not match their words or beliefs. They can be seen as insincere, hypocritical, and self-righteous.

Sanctimonious people often give the impression of being morally superior to others, and they can be condescending or judgmental in their interactions with others, expressing disapproval or contempt for people who do not share their moral or religious views.

It can also be used to describe an attitude or behavior that is overly righteous or self-righteous, such as a person who loudly and publicly advocates for a cause, but does not practice what they preach in their own life.

In summary, someone who is sanctimonious is excessively or hypocritically pious or morally self-righteous, they can be seen as insincere, hypocritical, and self-righteous, and their behavior and attitude can be condescending or judgmental towards people who do not share their moral or religious views.

Example sentences containing sanctimonious

1. He wore a sanctimonious smile as he lectured me about environmental responsibility.
2. Her sanctimonious attitude towards the less fortunate was starting to grate on everyone.
3. The charity event was ruined by his sanctimonious speech about poverty.
4. I wish he wouldn't be so sanctimonious about his new diet; we're all trying our best.
5. The sanctimonious tone in her voice when discussing her philanthropy made it hard to take her seriously.
6. His sanctimonious approach to politics irritated those who were genuinely interested in change.

History and etymology of sanctimonious

The adjective 'sanctimonious' has its etymological roots in the Latin word 'sanctimonia,' which means 'holiness' or 'sanctity.' Over time, it evolved in English to describe individuals who make a conspicuous show of being morally superior or virtuous, often in a hypocritical, condescending, or self-righteous manner. 'Sanctimonious' individuals are seen as pretending to be more morally upright than they truly are, using their supposed piety as a mask for judgment and superiority. The term highlights the discrepancy between their outward display of righteousness and their actual behavior, implying a sense of insincerity or self-serving sanctity.

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Further usage examples of sanctimonious

1. Despite his sanctimonious claims of veganism, I once saw him eating a cheeseburger.
2. The sanctimonious posture she assumed when discussing morality was a bit hypocritical considering her past.
3. The principal gave us a sanctimonious speech about honesty, but we all knew about his shady dealings.
4. His sanctimonious rant on social media did nothing but stir up anger.
5. She had a sanctimonious way of talking about her spiritual practices that alienated those around her.
6. The sanctimonious professor made every class a moral lesson rather than an intellectual discussion.
7. She wore a sanctimonious expression as she reprimanded the children for their minor infractions.
8. Her sanctimonious judgement of others was starting to affect her friendships.
9. His sanctimonious dedication to the rules often overshadowed his common sense.
10. He turned every discussion into a sanctimonious sermon, much to the annoyance of his friends.
11. The sanctimonious tone of the book turned what could have been a great read into a chore.
12. He hid behind a sanctimonious veil, pretending to be more virtuous than he really was.
13. Her sanctimonious comments about my lifestyle choices were neither helpful nor welcome.
14. Despite his sanctimonious facade, he was just as flawed as the rest of us.



self-righteous, sincere, genuine, honest


Illusion and Insincerity, Discipline and Self-Control, Scorn and Censure, Arrogance and Selfishness

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