Can any one tell me how to use the word hamartia in everyday writing? I have searched a lot but failed to find any sentence using this word. Any help would be appreciated.

  • 8
    How to use "hamartia" in daily life: don't. The word is a specialized literature term, and you have no reason to use it in everyday conversation (unless you regularly converse about Greek tragedy). Commented May 16, 2012 at 17:04
  • 2
    Hamartia? Isn't he a pitcher for the Cubs?
    – Kevin
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 18:05

2 Answers 2


From what I understand, "hamartia" can be used more generally to refer to a tragic or fatal flaw. There is also a medical definition that seems to be about abnormal tissue growth (though it is not a tumour). So you could probably use "hamartia" when referring to a fatal flaw, but I suspect most people who have not studied medicine or Greek tragedies will not get the reference.

In conclusion: Don't do it (unless you want to completely confuse your audience).

I think example will work (since you insisted):

The web application's hamartia was failing to sanitize input on the user sign-in form. This allowed the database to be compromised and credit card numbers to be stolen.


From Wikipedia http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamartia I quickly found two examples of usage:

In Greek tragedy, stories that contain a character with a hamartia often follow a similar blueprint. The hamartia, as stated, is seen as an error in judgment or unwitting mistake as applied to the actions of the hero.


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