I'm looking for a word that describes a sort of 'Lucius Malfoy' character (from Harry Potter); someone who has a wealthy and respectable facade that disguises a criminal or prejudiced interior. It doesn't have to necessarily be an adjective; a noun would also work. Thanks!

  • 2
    Since you've tagged this as a single word request, you should include a sample sentence demonstrating how the word would be used. Oct 26, 2022 at 20:15
  • That Heartspring character is 'pious' for sure. Scare quotes signal the questionability. Oct 26, 2022 at 20:16
  • Jekyll and Hyde, which isn't one word. Although Malfoy is.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 26, 2022 at 21:50
  • Have you considered politician?
    – Dale M
    Oct 27, 2022 at 3:44
  • @YosefBaskin - this is some 4 months late... but what do you mean? 'Pious'? Mar 10 at 13:45

3 Answers 3


A few words that come to mind:


hypocritically pious or devout

phony or specious

having a false look of truth or genuineness


expressive of affected, unwarranted, or exaggerated importance, worth, or stature

  • 1
    (accepted for specious) Feb 22 at 2:23

Hypocrite (Wiktionary) Someone who practices hypocrisy, who pretends to hold beliefs, or whose actions are not consistent with their claimed beliefs.

Pecksniff (Wiktionary) A very hypocritical person.

Tartuffe (Wiktionary) A religious hypocrite.

  • This doesn't seem right. Hypocricy is about actions that are inconsistent with previous statements, it's not really about character. This type of character will often be a hypocrite, but they're not synonyms.
    – Barmar
    Oct 27, 2022 at 21:49
  • "Jekyll and Hyde" are two words, other words that can be used are "duplicitous", "deceitful" etc.
    – banuyayi
    Oct 28, 2022 at 7:57
  • I don't think "Jekyll and Hyde" even fits this. That's someone who is evil part of the time, nice at other times.
    – Barmar
    Oct 28, 2022 at 15:33

I don't know that there's a specific word for this yet. But it's not uncommon for the name of a person to become a word that refers to something they're famously associated with. Examples are boycott, chauvinist, and gerrymander.

So at the risk of angering about half the US population, I suggest that "Trump" could become a word for what you describe. His public persona is a rich and glamorous businessman, but he's associated with many crooked business dealings (not even counting possible involvement in the January 6 insurrection) and there are credible accounts that he has inflated his net worth on many occasions (while also deflating the values of some of his properties to avoid taxes).

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