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Hubris

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  • Hubris is a word with roots in ancient Greece. We will examine the definition of the word hubris, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

    Hubris is arrogance or excessive pride, often leading to a person’s downfall. Hubris is a noun, the adjective form is hubristic and the adverb form is hubristically. The word hubris is derived from the Greek word hybris, which means presumption against the gods. In ancient times, hubris was considered a crime and was defined as an act of violence that was perpetrated to intentionally humiliate the victim. These acts of violence were usually assault and battery or rape, as well as theft of religions items. A famous example of hubris in ancient Greece occurred when Meidias, a wealthy citizen of Athens, struck Demosthenes while he was carrying out official proceedings during the Dionysia. Demosthenes was a famous orater, known for overcoming a stutter by speaking with pebbles in his mouth. Being charged with hubris was shameful, and hubris was often depicted in Greek tragedies as a fatal flaw. Today, hubris is not a crime, but it is still considered a tragic flaw in the human psyche.

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    Examples

    The tales of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict are riveting; the pointlessness of the exercise is maddening; the machinations of American leaders, driven by hubris and blinded by arrogance, are infuriating. (The Colombian)

    Three quarters of the nearly 32,000 present bounced with glee, but their hubris was comprehensively punctured a few moments later. (The Guardian)

    In Ola Rotimi’s play, Kurunmi, the tragic tale of the fall, during the Ijaye war with Ibadan, of the Aare Ona Kakanfo (war generalissimo) of the Oyo Empire, in Yoruba history, the late Prof. Rotimi, in explosive dramatics, linked Kurunmi’s hubris — and fall — to this tortoise’s wilful baiting of disgrace — for how can any sane being declare he won’t come home until he faced disgrace? (The Nation)

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