Self-righteousness (also called sententiousness) is a feeling of smug moral superiority [ [http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/self%20righteous Dictionary.com definition] ] derived from a sense that one's beliefs, actions, or affiliations are of greater virtue than those of the average person.
The term "self-righteous" is often considered derogatory (see, for example, journalist and essayist
James Fallows' [http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2007/10/about_selfrighteousness_and_al.php description of self-righteousness] in regards to Nobel Peace Prizewinners) particularly because self-righteous individuals are often thought to exhibit hypocrisy, an idea similar to that of the Freudian defense mechanismof reaction formation. The connection between self-righteousness and hypocrisy, however, predates Freud's views, however, as evidenced by the 1899 book [http://books.google.com/books?id=EeIhAAAAMAAJ "Good Mrs. Hypocrite: A Study in Self-Righteousness"] , by the pseudonymous author "Rita."
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Self-righteousness — Self right eous*ness, n. The quality or state of being self righteous; pharisaism. [1913 Webster] … The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
self-righteousness — self righteous ► ADJECTIVE ▪ certain that one is totally correct or morally superior. DERIVATIVES self righteously adverb self righteousness noun … English terms dictionary
self-righteousness — noun Confident in ones own righteousness, self assured, smug. The book of Job warns us against self righteousness, since no man can justify himself to God … Wiktionary
self-righteousness — noun see self righteous … New Collegiate Dictionary
self-righteousness — See self righteously. * * * … Universalium
self-righteousness — Synonyms and related words: Tartuffery, Tartuffism, affectation, cant, false piety, falseness, goody goodiness, hypocrisy, insincerity, mealymouthedness, mummery, oiliness, pharisaicalness, pharisaism, pietism, pietisticalness, piety, piousness,… … Moby Thesaurus
self-righteousness — n priggishness, piousness, goodiness, sanctimoniousness, pharisaicalness, pharisaism COLLOQ. goody goodiness ≠ humility … Useful english dictionary
self-righteous — self righteously, adv. self righteousness, n. /self ruy cheuhs, self /, adj. confident of one s own righteousness, esp. when smugly moralistic and intolerant of the opinions and behavior of others. [1670 80] Syn. sanctimonious, pharisaical. * * * … Universalium
self-righteous — 1680s, from SELF (Cf. self) + RIGHTEOUS (Cf. righteous) (q.v.). Related: Self righteously; self righteousness … Etymology dictionary
self-righteous — adj proudly sure that your beliefs, attitudes, and ↑morals are good and right, in a way that annoys other people used to show disapproval ▪ She s a vegetarian, but she s not at all self righteous about it. >self righteously adv >self… … Dictionary of contemporary English