Sunday, June 28, 2009

On the Word: Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is defined by websters online dictionary as:

"1: a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not ; especially : the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion
2: an act or instance of hypocrisy"

I will freely admit that I have been wrongly using the word and also that this word could possibly be one of the most misused words in common language use in Hawaii. (Perhaps the US mainland also?)

A common misuse of the word hypocrite, directly follows. (Wiki)

"Hypocrisy is the act of pretending that one has beliefs, opinions, virtues, feelings, qualities or standards that they do not actually have; this is usually done in order to mask their actual motives or feelings; falseness.

Father: You know, it's wrong to swear.
Son: You hypocrite!
Father: How so?
Son: You always swear.
Father: That doesn't make me a hypocrite.

The father is correct, as opposed to the son, who isn't. Had the father stated he doesn't swear, (assuming that the son is correct in saying he always swears) he would have been a hypocrite. Had he not actually agreed with the statement, again, he would have initiating a hypocritical situation. The possession of the belief is what labels the situation, not the practice of the belief. Self-contradiction is not necessarily synonymous with hypocrisy."

Definitions of words are extremely important in facilitating proper communication with others. By misusing words when corrected as to what their proper definitions are, you are only facilitating and promoting further problems with miscommunication in the future. The misuse of words helps to destroy and muddle the evolution of the English language. If you want to convey your thoughts feelings or an object etc... either use the correct words that are in common use (if you find it necessary to be accurate look up the word in the dictionary) or if necessary make up your own word. (so as it could possibly be taken up and assimilated into the English language)