June 08, 2016
- hubris (noun)
- What does it mean?
- : exaggerated pride or self-confidence
- How do you use it?
- "Don't you ever feel that way? Like _you_ could do a better job if you ran the world?" "Um . . . no. Me running the world would kind of be a nightmare." "Then you're lucky. Hubris isn't your fatal flaw." (Rick Riordan, _The Sea of Monsters_)
- Are you a word wiz?
We borrowed "hubris" from another language. What is the language that gave us the word "hubris"? (Hint: If you've read _The Sea of Monsters_, it's the language spoken by the ancestors of the main character, Percy.)"Hubris" comes directly from the Greek word "hybris." (Rick Riordan's _Percy Jackson_ series deals with the Greek gods and their modern-day children.) In ancient Greek literature, "hybris" was used to refer to something a person did to bring shame and humiliation on someone else. Some Greek philosophers used the word "hybris" to refer to this shaming action done towards the gods. When modern thinkers borrowed "hybris" in the 1800s (and gave it a spelling in English that corresponded to its pronunciation in Greek), they took the idea of someone who is so proud that they try to do something to shame and offend the gods and changed it to the "exaggerated pride or self-confidence" sense we use today. The original Greek word, however, doesn't carry this meaning at all.