Is there a single word for someone who firmly believes themselves to act in one way, but whose actions are contradictory to their beliefs?

Think of someone who advocates for moral behavior and believes themself to adhere to it, but can be observed to regularly violate that behavior.

Hypocrisy is close but it seems like Hypocrites feign belief rather than have it sincerely. Inconsistent is accurate but not specific enough to be ideal.

Similar phrases;

  • Lacking congruence between belief and action.
  • Lacking self-awareness.
  • Unintentional hypocrisy.
  • 2
    I think Conrado's answer is the correct one. You are defining the state of a deluded person, not of a hypocrite. A hypocrite knows that he is a hypocrite. A deluded person doesn't.
    – fev
    Dec 22, 2020 at 11:44
  • How about "politician"? Aug 26, 2021 at 14:13

3 Answers 3


Actually, hypocrite is the correct word. A hypocrite is someone who says one thing but does its opposite. According to m-w.com, a hypocrite is "a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings". [1]

[1] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hypocrite


Not a single word, but delusional hypocrite fits your description. Here is a use in the wild:

It is the hypocrisy that stems from “self-delusion” — where one becomes unaware that one’s own actions or beliefs have become contradictions. Springfield News Leader


A phrase often used is that he “believes his own story.”

See https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=believes+his+own+story&year_start=1800&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Cbelieves%20his%20own%20story%3B%2Cc0

This phrase often, but not always, incorporates the idea of hypocrisy.

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