Hubris, also hybris, from ancient Greek, means extreme pride or self-confidence. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence, accomplishments or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power. The adjectival form of the noun hubris is “hubristic”.

In modern usage, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance. Hubris is often associated with a lack of humility, though not always with the lack of knowledge. Those accused of hubris often come from higher social backgrounds, such as politicians or wealthy celebrities, than the accuser, who accuses them of having marginal experience with the realities of the topics they attempt to address. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in Greek society. The proverb “pride goeth (goes) before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall” (from the biblical Book of Proverbs, 16:18) is thought to sum up the modern use of hubris. It is also referred to as “pride that blinds”, as it often causes one accused of hubris to act in foolish ways that belie common sense.

Leave a Reply