The word "hubris"
My husband is writing a book and used the word "hubris". He insists it's a common word and most people will know what it means. I have a law degree and never heard it. Is "hubris" a word most people will know?
Hubris: "A display of extreme pride or arrogance, often to the point of losing touch with reality."
I think it is a common word and that most people know it or have at least heard it. For example, it's used a LOT by political pundits, so anyone who watches political news with even semi-regularity will have probably heard it.
The phrase "pride goeth before the fall" refers to hubris, as does this quote by T.S. Eliot: "Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important."
We definitely learned about hubris (Macbeth's downfall) when we studied Shakespeare in high school. I'm not sure that I've heard the word since then though
How "common" the word is and whether or not people will know its meaning really depends upon the target audience of the book. That is your key reference point.
English majors, teachers, literature afficionados, and as "Driving Peace" observes, politicians, will be surely familiar with it, as will anyone who makes a hobby of word study or word games such as crossword puzzles.
Others may not recognize the word. Those who do not may gather the meaning from the context, look it up, or just shrug and skip over it as unimportant. The last group you don't need to worry about: they are reading for the plot line only, and are not concerned with the finer points.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write an in depth analysis DzyMsLizzy! This will be extremely helpful to my husband since this is his first book and gives me something to think about. One day I may even attempt a book.
It's a fairly widely-used word, although I wouldn't be surprised if it's a little less common in this era of text messaging and kindergarten vocabulary from news media and politicians.
I don't have much to add here, except that there is one other group of people who will know the word well - those who have studied either Christian or classical philosophy.
I suspect that the word is much better known among baby-boomers (now 50 and over) than in younger circles.
Please take this lightly - it's definitely a word that should be taught in any ethic class in law school!
As an author, I would probably play it safe and define the term, perhaps as "unrealistic, dangerous pride." Twenty years ago, I wouldn't have, but now I would.
I first became aware of this term while studying ancient Greek poetry and plays. It was considered 'hubristic' for mortals not to accept the fate of the gods. John Milton suggested this was the reason for Satan's fall in "Paradise Lost". It might be best to cite an example in a sentence or use the Bible quote that DrivingPeace suggested: Proverbs 16.18 - "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." to define it.
Thanks for answering ajwrites57. Citing an example might be a way to play it safe. Many people study Greek literature at some point so the word may be more common than I thought.
You are welcome. My high school AP Lit teacher and college Classical Greek Lit prof drummed the concept into our heads! I have to watch that I don't get hubristic over it!
From what I've read, hubris is literary term and it is not a word most people would know.
by Diane Minton 6 years ago
Where were you when 911 occured?I remember where I was.
by Claudia Mitchell 6 years ago
Do you think teachers should be facebook friends with their students or the parents of students?I've noticed more and more comments on other people's facebook posts from teachers who work at my child's school. I'm not sure if I would be comfortable being facebook friends with my child's...
by Susan Britton 5 years ago
Does anyone know how to scramble a manuscript before you send it in for a word count?I have entered a write a novel in a month contest. . They don"t want to read it, it is an exercise in writing one. The deal is it is only for the month of November, so I have entered late but still hope...
by Faith Reaper 5 years ago
Why do you write?Is writing your passion in life, or do you just write in an attempt to purely make money, or both? Or is there another reason you write?
by astigpinoy16 7 years ago
Hello guys!I just want to ask something, as you can see on my subject of my topic, I am confused when to put comma after the word "and"? I have read hubs about how to use comma, but some time I see sentences where comma is preceded by the word and.I know how to use comma like: use a comma...
by Susan Hazelton 6 years ago
Come on down and read about the Words taking our HubNuggets. They hold them for ransom until the Krewe solve their word puzzle.http://koffeeklatchgals.hubpages.com/hu … HubNuggetsDon't forget to vote!
Copyright © 2018 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
|HubPages Device ID||This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.|
|Login||This is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.|
|HubPages Traffic Pixel||This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.|
|Remarketing Pixels||We may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.|
|Conversion Tracking Pixels||We may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.|