Pecksniffian â¢ \pek-SNIFF-ee-un\ â¢ adjective
: unctuously hypocritical : sanctimonious
"His book suffers from excessively long harangues against Pecksniffian prigs and temperance types who, he claims, are still trying to ruin our fun." (Mark D. Fefer, Seattle Weekly, January 22, 2003)
Did you know?
Seth Pecksniff, a character with a holier-than-thou attitude in Charles Dickens's 1844 novel Martin Chuzzlewit, was no angel, though he certainly tried to pass himself off as one. Pecksniff liked to preach morality and brag about his own virtue, but in reality he was a deceptive rascal who would use any means to advance his own selfish interests. It didn't take long for Pecksniff's reputation for canting sanctimoniousness to leave its mark on English; "Pecksniffian" has been used as a synonym of "hypocritical" since 1849.
With so many examples in public life these days, particularly from the Religious Right and the GOP elected officials, we should be using this word more often.