People who give bible-thumping/koran-thumping moralizing lectures about various "sins", but often indulge in the very same sins they lecture against. For example, many anti-gay preachers often turn out to be gay themselves.

Is there an expression, idiom or figure of speech to describe such people?

  • 7
    What do you think about the word "hypocrite" or its synonyms as listed in a thesaurus?
    – herisson
    Mar 6, 2019 at 12:08
  • I am familiar with hypocrite, but am looking for a phrase that describes the especially egregious crime of priests molesting children, while preaching from pulpit, or anti-gay preachers being gay etc. I would think there should be a phrase that captures it. Thanks.
    – Santino
    Mar 6, 2019 at 13:36
  • There's Tartuffe (from the Molière play). Mar 6, 2019 at 14:46
  • Can you cite evidence that "many anti-gay preachers often turn out to be gay themselves"? Certainly that is true for some, but where do you have objective evidence to support this claim? It seems relevant since this is why you're looking for the answer to your question. Mar 6, 2019 at 20:32
  • The simplest words are often the best, so I agree that hypocrite is the best word, after looking at the synonyms. You might add the modifier "sanctimonious" for the example you describe.
    – ab2
    Mar 6, 2019 at 23:22

1 Answer 1


A popular idiom for this is the pot calling the kettle black.

From Wikipedia:

"The pot calling the kettle black" is a proverbial idiom that may be of Spanish origin of which English versions began to appear in the first half of the 17th century. The idiom is glossed in the original sources as being used of a person who is guilty of the very thing of which they accuse another and is thus an example of psychological projection.

In other words, a gay preacher who preaches against homosexuality is an example of the pot calling the kettle black.

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