Definition of sanctimonious in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌsaNG(k)təˈmōnēəs/


Making a show of being morally superior to other people: what happened to all the sanctimonious talk about putting his family first?
More example sentences
  • But with this aid went a lot of sanctimonious preaching about the superiority of the American way of life.
  • If it is, then his comeback should be welcomed, because he does have an opportunity to do something positive, even against the inevitable background of sanctimonious and hypocritical noise.
  • There has been a massive growth in recent years of a new type of Irish person - the smug, sanctimonious person who has just moved from a city to what he or she considers the countryside.
self-righteous, holier-than-thou, pious, pietistic, churchy, moralizing, preachy, smug, superior, priggish, hypocritical, insincere
informal goody-goody



Pronunciation: /ˌsaNG(k)təˈmōnēəslē/
Example sentences
  • But bearing witness risks being a self-regarding gesture aimed at sanctimoniously demonstrating one's moral superiority - akin to the self-regarding ‘innocence’ of Bertolucci's protagonists.
  • The newspaper sanctimoniously condemned the slightest failure on the part of the White House to divulge details of the president's sex life or to produce documents on a 20-year-old failed real estate investment.
  • Some of the explorers died during subsequent skirmishes, but in nothing like the numbers of the natives who suffered from introduced scourges like syphilis, which the French and the British always sanctimoniously blamed on each other.


Pronunciation: /ˌsaNG(k)təˈmōnēəsnəs/
Example sentences
  • The Anglican Consultative Council has issued a statement on the divestment controversy which achieves a truly egregious conflation of sanctimoniousness, disingenuousness and sheer moral humbug.
  • Yet he said, with a Kafkaesque sanctimoniousness, that he had promised his mother he would make it through to this trial so that he could tell the truth to the parents about their daughters' deaths.
  • Having stayed in this land of elephants and snake charmers for twenty years now, I've become used to this inane exposition of sanctimoniousness.


Pronunciation: /ˈsaNG(k)təˌmōnē/
Example sentences
  • Ah, the joys of Washington: that wonderful city where sanctimony and intellectual dishonesty are treated like virtues instead of vices.
  • Take a random sample of the furore about drugs in sport, and you will usually find that it tests positive for sanctimony, with a heavy dose of double standards and traces of high-grade idiocy on all sides.
  • During the heyday of British colonialism, Rudyard Kipling's ‘Take up the white man's burden’ was an unambiguous expression of the patronising sanctimony that pervaded European thinking towards the peoples of Asia and Africa.


Early 17th century (in the sense 'holy in character'): from Latin sanctimonia 'sanctity' (from sanctus 'holy') + -ous.

Words that rhyme with sanctimonious

acrimonious, antimonious, ceremonious, erroneous, euphonious, felonious, harmonious, parsimonious, Petronius, Suetonius

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sanc·ti·mo·ni·ous

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