Pride is a lofty view of one's self or one's own. Pride often manifests itself as a high opinion of one's nation (national pride), ethnicity (ethnic pride), or appearance and abilities (vanity). Pride is considered a negative attribute by most major world religions, but some philosophies consider it positive. The opposite of pride is humility.


According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, "proud" comes from late Old English "prud", probably from Old French "prude" "brave, valiant" (11th century), from Latin "prode" "advantageous, profitable", from "prodesse" "be useful". The sense of "having a high opinion of oneself", not in French, may reflect the Anglo-Saxons' opinion of the Norman knights who called themselves "proud", like the French knights "preux". Fact|date=June 2008

Religious views

Abrahamic religions


Judaism, using pride in the sense of hubris or arrogance, denounces it - the phrase "Pride goes before a fall" is a paraphrase of a passage from the book of Proverbs, in the Old Testament. Many more verses of the Tanakh/Old Testament speak of pride and arrogance. "Blessed is that man that makes the Lord his trust, and looks not to the proud, nor to those that turn aside to lies." (Psalm 40:4) "Talk no more exceeding proudly, nor let arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed." (I Sam. 2:3)


In Christianity, pride (Latin, "superbia") is seen as the excessive love of one's own worth usually by attempting to remove oneself from subjection to God or valid authorities. [Delany, J. (1911). Pride. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved September 19, 2008 from New Advent:] A scriptural reference to pride can be found in the Psalms: "In his pride the wicked does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God." (Psalm 10:4). Pride is sometimes referred to as the greatest of the seven deadly sins. To that effect, Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote that "inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin." This sentiment was also expressed by Pope Gregory I. [CathEncy|wstitle=Pride] [ [ Online Library of Liberty - QUESTION CLXII.: OF PRIDE. - Aquinas Ethicus: or, the Moral Teaching of St. Thomas, vol. 2 (Summa Theologica - Secunda Secundae Pt.2) ] ]


In Islam, pride is forbidden as well. According to a narration from Prophet Muhammad, he said: "He in whose heart there is as much as an atom of arrogance will not enter paradise," and a man remarked: "A man likes his garment to be beautiful and his sandals to be beautiful." Then Muhammad(S.A.W) replied: "God, Most High, is beautiful and likes beauty; arrogance is disdaining what is true and despising people." (Sahih Muslim).

Asian religions


In Buddhism, pride is seen as illogical as no one person or thing can be better or worse than something or someone else. Fact|date=June 2008


In Hinduism, Ravana, an evil king who was killed by Rama, avatar of Vishnu, exhibited the sins of pride and lust. Fact|date=June 2008


In Taoism, according to the Tao Te Ching, pride and greed are human errors. Fact|date=June 2008

Philosophical views

Ancient Greek philosophy

Aristotle identified pride ("megalopsuchia", variously translated as proper pride, greatness of soul and magnanimity [ [ The Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle, James Alexander, Kerr Thomson, Hugh Tredennick, Jonathan Barnes translators] ] ) as the crown of the virtues, distinguishing it from vanity, temperance, and humility, thus::"Now the man is thought to be proud who thinks himself worthy of great things, being worthy of them; for he who does so beyond his deserts is a fool, but no virtuous man is foolish or silly. The proud man, then, is the man we have described. For he who is worthy of little and thinks himself worthy of little is temperate, but not proud; for pride implies greatness, as beauty implies a goodsized body, and little people may be neat and well-proportioned but cannot be beautiful. On the other hand, he who thinks himself worthy of great things, being unworthy of them, is vain; though not every one who thinks himself worthy of more than he really is worthy of is vain. The man who thinks himself worthy of less than he is really worthy of is unduly humble, whether his deserts be great or moderate, or his deserts be small but his claims yet smaller. And the man whose deserts are great would seem most unduly humble; for what would he have done if they had been less? The proud man, then, is an extreme in respect of the greatness of his claims, but a mean in respect of the rightness of them; for he claims what is accordance with his merits, while the others go to excess or fall short. " [ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 4.3] ; also available here [ Sacred Texts - Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics] ; and here [;query=bekker%20page%3D%2363;layout=;loc=1123a%201 alternate translation at Perseus] ] He concludes then that:"Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them greater, and it is not found without them. Therefore it is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character. " [ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 4.3] ] [ [ Understanding Philosophy for AS Level AQA, by Christopher Hamilton (Google Books)] ]

By contrast, Aristotle defined hubris as follows: :"to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater." [Aristotle "Rhetoric" 1378b (Greek text and English translation available at the [ Perseus Project] ).]

Thus, although many religions may not recognize the difference, for Aristotle and many philosophers hubris is altogether an entirely different thing from pride.


Nietzsche saw pride as an example of a previous, master set of morals that had been replaced with slave moralities. In this, pride was good, because it acknowledges the good and the noble, rejecting the weak and insipid. Without pride, we will remain subservient.


Objectivism is among the few modern philosophies and/or religions that list pride as a virtue. According to Ayn Rand, pride is one of the seven main virtues. In "The Virtue of Selfishness," Ayn Rand wrote ::"The virtue of pride can best be described by the term: “moral ambitiousness.” It means that one must earn the right to hold oneself as one’s own highest value by achieving one’s own moral perfection—which one achieves by never accepting any code of irrational virtues impossible to practice and by never failing to practice the virtues one knows to be rational—by never accepting an unearned guilt and never earning any, or, if one has earned it, never leaving it uncorrected—by never resigning oneself passively to any flaws in one’s character—by never placing any concern, wish, fear or mood of the moment above the reality of one’s own self-esteem. And, above all, it means one’s rejection of the role of a sacrificial animal, the rejection of any doctrine that preaches self-immolation as a moral virtue or duty." [“The Objectivist Ethics,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 27, see also]

Pride is thus seen as a positive, correct life-affirming attitude to have, as it celebrates one's achievements and promoted selfworth.

It is achieved by "consistently" practicing productiveness, rationality, independence, honesty, integrity, justice and all of the other virtues, and the end result is one of the three cardinal Objectivist values: self-esteem.

Psychological views

When trying to understand hubris, we must focus on the definition itself. It is a sense of self exaggerated pride. There are two types of pride, alpha pride and beta pride. Beta pride is the type of pride that contributes to hubris as a negative emotion. In order to understand the difference between good pride and hubris, we must differentiate between the two kinds.

Alpha Pride: (Pride within self):described as a behavior that reflects less emotional expression. Alpha pride concerns feelings of inward gratification rather than the outward expressions that more concern that of beta pride. Beta Pride: (Pride in behavior):described as a behavior that contributes to hubris negatively. Beta pride in contrast to alpha pride is more of an emotional expression. Emotional expressions are often intended as communicative acts addressed to another person rather than direct reflections of an underlying mental state. Several theories are related to the relationship of beta pride and the unconscious feelings of detachment/unconcern.

Pride is a pleasant, sometimes exhilarating, emotion that results from a positive self-evaluation (Luis, 2002). The standard view of pride was that it results from satisfaction with meeting the personal goals set by oneself. Most research on pride attempts to distinguish the positive aspects of pride and the negative. Pride involves exhilarated pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment. Pride is related to more positive behaviors and outcomes in the area where the individual is proud (Weiner, 1985). Pride is generally associated with positive social behaviors such as helping others and outward promotion. According to Bagozzi et. al, pride can have the positive benefits of enhancing creativity, productivity, and altruism. Gestures that demonstrate pride can involve a lifting of the chin, smiles, or arms on hips to demonstrate victory.

Hubris, by contrast, involves an arrogant tone and satisfaction in oneself in general. Hubris seems to be associated with more intra-individual negative outcomes. Hubris is related to expressions of aggression and hostility (Tagney, 1999). Hubris is not necessarily associated with high self-esteem, as one might expect. But with highly fluctuating or variable self-esteem (Rhodwalt, et al.) Excessive feelings of hubris have a tendency of creating conflict and sometimes terminating close relationships. Hubris is considered one of the only emotions without some positive functions. When we are exposed to hubris we tend to avoid, shun, and reject the hubristic person.

National pride


In Germany, "national pride" ("Nationalstolz") is often associated with the former Nazi regime. Strong displays of national pride are therefore considered poor taste by many Germans. There is an ongoing public debate about the issue of German patriotism. The World Cup in 2006, held in Germany, saw a wave of patriotism sweep the country in a manner not seen for many years. Although many were hesitant to show such blatant support as the hanging of the national flag from windows, as the team progressed through the tournament, so too did the level of support across the nation. By the time the semi-final against Italy came around, the level of national pride and unity was at its highest throughout the tournament, and the hosting of the World Cup is seen to have been a great success for Germany as a nation. Fact|date=July 2007

United States

During the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, American snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis had attained a seemingly insurmountable lead in the Snowboard Cross event final until she attempted a celebratory method grab as she neared completion of the course. The unnecessary move caused her to fall, allowing Tanja Frieden of Switzerland to pass her and win the gold medal. The media has cited this incident as an example of modern-day athletic hubris.

On April 25th, 1945, the United States held the first "UN Conference on International Organization", in response to the failed "League of Nations". The United Nations, which officially came into existence in October of that same year, defined the need for "national pride" as "the necessary installation of nationally minded leadership personalities with an inner sense of responsibility." This idea would later serve as a foundation for modern American patriotism.

Ethnic pride

Asian pride

Asian pride in modern slang refers mostly to those of East Asian descent, though it can include any one of Asian descent. Asian pride was originally fragmented, as Asian nations have had long conflicts with each other, examples are the old Japanese and Chinese religious beliefs of their individual superiority. Asian pride emerged prominently during European colonialism.Langguth, Gerd. German Foreign Affairs Review. "Dawn of the 'Pacific' Century?" 1996. June 30, 2007. [] ] At one time, Europeans owned 85% of the world's land through colonialism, resulting anti-Western feelings among Asian nations. Today, some Asians still look upon European involvement in their affairs with suspicion. In contrast, Asian empires are prominent and are proudly remembered by adherents to Asian Pride. An example is the Mongol Empire, which was one of the largest empires in history, occupying most of Asia. Another empire is Imperial Japan, the symbols of which are widespread in modern culture and franchises, especially the Rising Sun Flag, one of the main symbols of Asian, specifically Japanese, pride.

Black pride

Black pride is a slogan used primarily in the United States to raise awareness for a black racial identity.

The slogan has been used by African Americans (especially of sub-Saharan African origin) to denote a feeling of self-respect, celebrating one's heritage, and being proud of one's personal worth. Black pride as a national movement is closely linked with the developments of the American Civil Rights Movement, during which noted figures such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, A. Philip Randolph, Stokely Carmichael, and others protested the conditions of the United States' segregated society, and lobbied for better treatment for people of all races. Roy Innis has sought to enhance and build on the black pride movement of the mid-1960’s, he and a Congress of Racial Equality delegation toured seven African countries in 1971. Curtis Mayfield's "We're a Winner" became a virtual anthem of the black power and black pride movements.

The concept of black power also permeated into the work of popular musicians at the time. The Impressions's "We're a Winner", written by their lead singer Curtis Mayfield, became a virtual anthem of the black power and black pride movements, as did James Brown's "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud", Collin Carlone's "Life As a 'Boro Black Boy", and, unwittingly, Martha & the Vandellas' "Dancing in the Street".

In addition to Black America, the Black Pride Movement was very prevalent in cite web | url=
, especially throughout their poorer population. A local and global recognition of this movement has been demonstrated throughout Brazilian funk. Brazilian Funk’s origin reflects Brazilian Black resistance and today appeals to a larger regional cultural identity. Ethnomusicologist George Yúdice’s states that youth were engaging black culture mediated by a U.S. culture industry met with many arguments against their susceptibility to cultural colonization. Although it borrows some ingredients from a form of Black American musical resistance hip hop, its style still remains unique to the Brazil (specifically in Rio and São Paulo). [ Yúdice, George. "The Funkification of Rio." In Microphone Fiends, 193-220. London: Routledge, 1994./]

White pride

"White pride" is a slogan used primarily in the United States to agitate for a white European racial identity and is closely aligned with white supremacy, white separatism, and other extreme manifestations of white racism. [Harvnb|Dobratz|Shanks-Meile|2001] Organizations advocating white pride are collectively referred to as the white pride movement. White pride activists claim that white pride is equivalent to "black pride" and similar terms that express no more than ethnic self-affirmation.

LGBT/Gay pride

"Gay pride" refers to a world wide movement and philosophy asserting that LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) individuals should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT pride advocates work for equal "rights and benefits" for LGBT people. [Cite web| url=| title=Pride celebrated worldwide| accessdate=2007-07-31|] [Cite web | url=| title=GAY PRIDE IN EUROPE LOOKS GLOBALLY| accessdate=2007-07-31|] [Cite web | url=,+Gay,+Bisexual,+and+Transgender+people+is+important&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=14&gl=us| title=Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Equality -an Issue for us All| accessdate=2007-07-31|] The movement has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered. [Cite web | url=| title=Gay and Lesbian History Month| accessdate=2007-07-31|]


In conventional parlance, vanity sometimes is used in a positive sense to refer to a rational concern for one's personal appearance, attractiveness and dress and is thus not the same as pride. However, it also refers to an excessive or irrational belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness "in the eyes of others" and may in so far be compared to pride. The term Vanity originates from the Latin word "vanitas" meaning "emptiness", "untruthfulness", "futility", "foolishness" and "empty pride". [ [ Words Latin-English Dictionary] ; [ Perseus Word Lookup] ] Here "empty pride" means a fake pride, in the sense of vainglory, unjustified by one's own achievements and actions, but sought by pretense and appeals to superficial characteristics.

In many religions, vanity is considered a form of self-idolatry, in which one rejects God for the sake of one's own image, and thereby becomes divorced from the graces of God. The stories of Lucifer and Narcissus (who gave us the term narcissism), and others, attend to a pernicious aspect of vanity.

In Western art, vanity was often symbolized by a peacock, and in Biblical terms, by the Whore of Babylon. In secular allegory, vanity was considered one of the minor vices. During the Renaissance, vanity was invariably represented as a naked woman, sometimes seated or reclining on a couch. She attends to her hair with comb and mirror. The mirror is sometimes held by a demon or a putto. Other symbols of vanity include jewels, gold coins, a purse, and often by the figure of death himself.

Often we find an inscription on a scroll that reads "Omnia Vanitas" ("All is Vanity"), a quote from the Latin translation of the Book of Ecclesiastes. [James Hall, "Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art" (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), 318.] Although that phrase, itself depicted in a type of still life, vanitas, originally referred not to obsession with one's appearance, but to the ultimate fruitlessness of man's efforts in this world, the phrase summarizes the complete preoccupation of the subject of the picture.

"The artist invites us to pay lip-service to condemning her," writes Edwin Mullins, "while offering us full permission to drool over her. She admires herself in the glass, while we treat the picture that purports to incriminate her as another kind of glass—a window—through which we peer and secretly desire her." [Edwin Mullins, "The Painted Witch: How Western Artists Have Viewed the Sexuality of Women" (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1985), 62-3.] The theme of the recumbent woman often merged artistically with the non-allegorical one of a reclining Venus.

In his table of the Seven Deadly Sins, Hieronymus Bosch depicts a bourgeois woman admiring herself in a mirror held up by a devil. Behind her is an open jewelry box. A painting attributed to Nicolas Tournier, which hangs in the Ashmolean Museum, is "An Allegory of Justice and Vanity". A young woman holds a balance, symbolizing justice; she does not look at the mirror or the skull on the table before her. Vermeer's famous painting "Girl with a Pearl Earring" is sometimes believed to depict the sin of vanity, as the young girl has adorned herself before a glass without further positive allegorical attributes. [] "All is Vanity", by Charles Allan Gilbert (1873-1929), carries on this theme. An optical illusion, the painting depicts what appears to be a large grinning skull. Upon closer examination, it reveals itself to be a young woman gazing at her reflection in the mirror.

Such artistic works served to warn viewers of the ephemeral nature of youthful beauty, as well as the brevity of human life and the inevitability of death.

Literary references

The most common literary term for pride is hubris(sometimes spelled hybris; Greek: ὕβρις).

Ancient Greece

In Ancient Greece, instances of pride were termed "hubris" because of the added connotation that pride was a crime was against the gods and would result in fatal retribution. The word was also used to describe those who considered themselves more important than the gods themselves.

Hubris against the gods is often attributed as a character flaw of the heroes in Greek tragedy, and the cause of the "nemesis", or destruction, which befalls these characters. However, this represents only a small proportion of occurrences of hubris in Greek literature, and for the most part hubris refers to infractions by mortals against other mortals. Therefore, it is now generally agreed that the Greeks did not generally think of hubris as a religious matter, still less that it was normally punished by the gods. [MacDowell (1976) p. 22.] The ancient Greek concept of hubris extended to what would today be termed assault and battery.

Perhaps one of the most vivid examples of hubris in Greek literature is demonstrated by Achilles and his treatment of Hector's corpse in Homer's "Iliad".Fact|date=June 2008 Similarly, Creon commits hubris in refusing to bury Polynices in Sophocles' Antigone. Another example is in the tragedy Agamemnon, by Aeschylus.Fact|date=June 2008 Agamemnon initially rejects the hubris of walking on the fine purple tapestry, an act which is suggested by Clytemnestra, in hopes of bringing his ruin. This act may be seen as a desecration of a divinely woven tapestry, as a general flouting of the strictures imposed by the gods, or simply as an act of extreme pride and lack of humility before the gods, tempting them to retribution. One other example is that of Oedipus.Fact|date=June 2008 In Sophocles' "Oedipus the King", while on the road to Thebes, Oedipus meets King Laius of Thebes who is unknown to him as his biological father. Oedipus kills King Laius in a dispute over which of them has the right of way, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of the oracle Loxias that Oedipus is destined to murder his own father.

Odysseus' ten year journey home was the result of hubris:Fact|date=June 2008 after blinding the Cyclops, he mockingly declared his name to the monster as he escaped. This allowed the Cyclops to call upon his father Poseidon for help and curse him.

Modern times

Victor in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein exudes hubris in order to become a great scientist, but is eventually regretting this previous desire. Faustus in Christopher Marlowe's play Dr. Faustus exudes hubris, all the way until his final minutes of life.

In his book [ "The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair and the Intoxication of Power"] the British politician David Owen argues that President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair developed a Hubristic Syndrome while in power. In particular their handling of the Iraq War showed their hubristic tendencies.

ee also

*Victory disease
*Lions "Group Organization"
*Vanity gallery
*Seven Deadly Sins
*Seven Heavenly Virtues (opposite of the deadly sins)



* Cairns, Douglas L. "Hybris", Dishonour, and Thinking Big." "Journal of Hellenic Studies" 116 (1996) 1-32.
* A book-length discussion of the meaning and implications of hybristic behavior in ancient Greece.
* MacDowell, Douglas. "Hybris" in Athens." "Greece and Rome" 23 (1976) 14-31.
* Owen, David (2007) [ "The Hubris Syndrome: Bush, Blair and the Intoxication of Power"] Politico's, Methuen Publishing Ltd.
* [ Essential Vermeer]

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