Pecksniffian

I came across this word on Google trends a few days back and made a note to look it up.  Depending which dictionary you look at it means –

Hypocritically benevolent; sanctimonious, or
unctuously hypocritical 

All agree that it derives from a Charles Dickens book Martin Chuzzlehit which I have to admit never hearing of before.   If we look at the Wikipedia entry we’ll find a list of characters in the book.

The first to be introduced is Seth Pecksniff, a widower with two daughters, who is a self-styled teacher of architecture. He believes that he is a highly moral individual who loves his fellow man, but mistreats his students and passes off their designs as his own for profit. He seems to be a cousin of Old Martin Chuzzlewit. Mr. Pecksniff’s rise and fall follows the novel’s plot arc.

As a word that one goes on my list with petrichor, peristalsis, fescinnine and schadenfreude.


Let me know some of your favourite words.

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