The word "hubris"

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  1. healthylife2 profile image90
    healthylife2posted 5 years ago

    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?

  2. DrivingPeace profile image82
    DrivingPeaceposted 5 years ago

    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."

    1. healthylife2 profile image90
      healthylife2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for answering the question DrivingPeace. I definitely learned something new and think it may be safe to use the word in the book.

  3. ExpectGreatThings profile image80
    ExpectGreatThingsposted 5 years ago

    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 smile

    1. healthylife2 profile image90
      healthylife2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I don't hear it on a regular basis but must have heard it in high school too:) Thanks for answering ExpectGreatThings!

  4. DzyMsLizzy profile image95
    DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years ago

    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.

    1. DrivingPeace profile image82
      DrivingPeaceposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Yes. Great analysis.

    2. healthylife2 profile image90
      healthylife2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      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.

  5. Greekgeek profile image92
    Greekgeekposted 5 years ago

    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.

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image95
      DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      That's true enough...

    2. ExpectGreatThings profile image80
      ExpectGreatThingsposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Your comment made me laugh - in a sad kind of way.

    3. healthylife2 profile image90
      healthylife2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Sad but true Greekgeek!

  6. SidKemp profile image91
    SidKempposted 5 years ago

    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.

    1. healthylife2 profile image90
      healthylife2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks so much for the helpful advice SidKemp! Describing the word may be much safer. Although I did increase my vocab as a result of law school I agree that this one should have been included. There will always be more to learn:)

  7. ajwrites57 profile image87
    ajwrites57posted 5 years ago

    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.

    1. healthylife2 profile image90
      healthylife2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      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.

    2. ajwrites57 profile image87
      ajwrites57posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      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!

  8. profile image0
    SandCastlesposted 4 years ago

    From what I've read, hubris is literary term and it is not a word most people would know.

    1. healthylife2 profile image90
      healthylife2posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for the feedback SandCastles! I'm glad I'm not the only one unfamiliar with the word.

 
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