Hypocrite or Actor?


This post is definitely not meant to in any way make a statement about, well, anything. Rather, it is a simple etymological study.

I love words. Do you have a favorite word? I do. Defenestration. Now that is a great word. Another word I’ve always enjoyed the sound of is “hypocrisy”.

Recently I decided it would be fun to look up “hipocrite’s” word origins. (I know, another wild night for Odin.)

This is what I found out. It seems that this word has it’s origins in Greek. No surprise there. What I found interesting was that the word comes from the theatre. Some of the first stage plays happened in ancient Greece. Many times the stage company consisted of a small number of men. The practice at the time was to wear a mask on stage. The belief was that the mask would allow the audience to be less distracted by the actors facial characteristics. Of course this practice also allowed a small number of actors to play a larger number of rolls. These actors were known as hypocrites. Hence, the idea that wearing a different mask allowed you to become a different person and behave in a unique manner.

Who knew? (Well, quite possibly many of you.) You know this is the first time I’ve ever wished I was an actor. I can imagine the introduction going something like this, “Hi I’m Odin.”

“Nice to meet you. What line of work are you in?”

“Oh, I’m a hypocrite.”

Sweet 🙂

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~ by odin1eye on 29 March, 2009.

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