Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
May 9th, 2016
Episode 519 of 830 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 9, 2016 is: hubris \HYOO-bris\ noun : exaggerated pride or self-confidence Examples: The company's failure was ultimately brought on by the hubris of its founder. "I think confidence is one of the most important qualities that you need in a leader—self-assurance. But at times confidence can shade over into arrogance and even hubris." — Doris Kearns Goodwin, speaking on The Charlie Rose Show, 12 Jan. 2016 Did you know? English picked up both the concept of hubris and the term for that particular brand of cockiness from the ancient Greeks, who considered hubris a dangerous character flaw capable of provoking the wrath of the gods. In classical Greek tragedy, hubris was often a fatal shortcoming that brought about the fall of the tragic hero. Typically, overconfidence led the hero to attempt to overstep the boundaries of human limitations and assume a godlike status, and the gods inevitably humbled the offender with a sharp reminder of his or her mortality.