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quotations about hypocrisy

Every veil secretly desires to be lifted, except the veil of hypocrisy.

For neither man nor angel can discern
Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks
Invisible, except to God alone.

JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

Every man alone is sincere. At the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins.

RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Friendship," Essays

No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.


If Satan ever laughs, it must be at hypocrites; they are the greatest dupes he has; they serve him better than any others, and receive no wages.


Whenever a man undergoes a considerable change, in consequence of being observed by others, whenever he assumes another gait, another language, than what he had before he thought himself observed, be advised to guard yourself against him.


A man is a hypocrite only when he affects to take a delight in what he does not feel, not because he takes a perverse delight in opposite things.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

Is it stupidity or is it moral cowardice which leads men to continue professing a creed that makes self-sacrifice a cardinal principle, while they urge the sacrificing of others, even to the death, when they trespass against us? Is it blindness, or is it an insance inconsistency, which makes them regard as most admirable the bearing of evil for the benefit of others, while they lavish admiration on those who, out of revenge, inflict great evils in return for small ones suffered? Surely our barbarian code of right needs revision, and our barbarian standard of honour should be somewhat changed.

HERBERT SPENCER, The Study of Sociology

The people who make wars, the people who reduce their fellows to slavery, the people who kill and torture and tell lies in the name of their sacred causes, the really evil people in a word—these are never the publicans and the sinners. No, they’re the virtuous, respectable men, who have the finest feelings, the best brains, the noblest ideals.

ALDOUS HUXLEY, After Many a Summer Dies the Swan

It is easier to pretend to be what you are not, than to hide what you really are; he that can accomplish both, has little to learn in hypocrisy.


Another little phase of everyday life that might be amusing if it were not so pathetic is the pious way some old skinflint whose specialty is foreclosing widows' mortgages can act in church.


We ought to see far enough into a hypocrite to see even his sincerity.


Trust him with none of thy individualities who is, or pretends to be, two things at once.


An immoral character, glossed with religious pretention, is like a rotten egg with an Easter coloring.

LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts

Hypocrites act by virtue.... They frame many counterfeits of her, with which they make an ostentatious parade, in all public assemblies, and processions; but the original of what they counterfeit, and which may indeed be said to have fallen from heaven, they produce so seldom, that it is cankered by the rust of sloth, and useless from non-application.


It is hypocrisy for man to make any other use of his religion, or the credit of it, than to sanctify and save his soul.

BENJAMIN WHICHCOTE, Moral and Religious Aphorisms

Of what benefit is it to say our prayers regularly, go to church, receive the sacraments, and maybe go to confessions too; ay, feast the priest, and give alms to the poor, and yet lie, swear, curse, be drunk, covetous, unclean, proud, revengeful, vain and idle at the same time?

WILLIAM PENN, Some Fruits of Solitude

It does not follow that a man is a hypocrite because his actions give the lie to his words. If he at one time seems a saint, and at other times a sinner, he possibly is both in reality, as well as in appearance. A person may be fond of vice and of virtue too; and practice one or the other, according to the temptation of the moment.

WILLIAM HAZLITT, Characteristics

How do men feel whose whole lives (and many men's lives are) are lies, schemes, and subterfuges? What sort of company do they keep when they are alone? Daily in life I watch men whose every smile is an artifice, and every wink is an hypocrisy. Doth such a fellow where a mask in his own privacy, and to his own conscience?


The formal Hypocrite is very justly compared with a Nightingale. She is more in sound than in substance, a loud and excellent voice, but a little despicable body.

WELLINS CALCOTT, Thoughts Moral and Divine

I think that generally one of the things that—one of the things that I sort of feel like is the meta issue in the type of political commentary that I do is that nobody really cares about hypocrisy—everybody expects hypocrisy from politicians. And so, you tell a politician they are being a hypocrite, and they say, oh, you have such a nasty tune, stop saying those rude things, because they don‘t care about the substance of it.

RACHEL MADDOW, The Rachel Maddow Show, Jul. 5, 2011

The accomplished hypocrite does not exercise his skill upon every possible occasion for the sake of acquiring facility in the use of his instruments. In all unimportant matters, who is more just, more upright, more candid, more honourable?

ARTHUR HELPS, Thoughts in the Cloister and the Crowd

The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one whi lies with sincerity.

ANDRE GIDE, Autumn Leaves

I hate that man like the very Gates of Death who says one thing but hides another in his heart.

HOMER, The Iliad

If we divine a discrepancy between a man's words and his character, the whole impression of him becomes broken and painful; he revolts the imagination by his lack of unity, and even the good in him is hardly accepted.

CHARLES HORTON COOLEY, Human Nature and the Social Order

Hypocrisy is the outward acknowledgment of inward shame.

NORMAN MACDONALD, Maxims and Moral Reflections

The hypocrite and saint are like two men at sawing; the hypocrite, like him in the pit, looks high upward, but pulls downward; the saint, like him above, looks low, humbly downward, but pulls upward. The hypocrite is like a peach, which covers a ragged craggy stone under a velvet coat; the saint, like the chestnut, hath a sweet kernel, though the cover be rough. The hypocrite, like Judas, kisses Christ, but betrays Him, and, like ivy, he clasps about Christ, but is not united to Him; he again, like ivy, derives not sap and nourishment from Him, but from a root of his own. The hypocrite is like a window cushion, fairly wrought without, but stuffed with straw.

R. VENNING, attributed, A Cyclopedia of Illustrations of Moral and Religious Truths

What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

HANNAH ARENDT, On Revolution

Every veil secretly desires to be lifted, except the veil of Hypocrisy.

RICHARD GARNETT, De Flagello Myrtes

Browse Hypocrisy Quotes II

Read Henry F. Kletzing's essay on Hypocrisy

Read T. Augustus Forbes Leith's short essay: On Hypocrisy


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