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For other uses, see Pride (disambiguation).
Superbia - a Latin term signifying "Pride", which, in use, is most often intended to have a negative connotation (mosaic in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière).

Pride is an inwardly directed emotion that carries two common meanings. With a negative connotation pride refers to an inflated sense of one's personal status or accomplishments, often used synonymously with hubris. With a positive connotation, pride refers to a satisfied sense of attachment toward one's own or another's choices and actions, or toward a whole group of people, and is a product of praise, independent self-reflection, and a fulfilled feeling of belonging. Philosophers and social psychologists have noted that pride is a complex secondary emotion which requires the development of a sense of self and the mastery of relevant conceptual distinctions (e.g., that pride is distinct from happiness and joy) through language-based interaction with others.[1] Some social psychologists identify it as linked to a signal of high social status.[2] In contrast pride could also be defined as a disagreement with the truth. One definition of pride in the first sense comes from St. Augustine: "the love of one's own excellence".[3] A similar definition comes from Meher Baba: "Pride is the specific feeling through which egoism manifests."[4] In this sense, the opposite of pride is either humility or guilt; the latter in particular being a sense of one's own failure in contrast to Augustine's notion of excellence.

Pride is sometimes viewed as excessive or as a vice, sometimes as proper or as a virtue. While some philosophers such as Aristotle (and George Bernard Shaw) consider pride a profound virtue, some world religions consider it a sin, such as is expressed in Proverbs 11:2 of the Old Testament. In Christianity, pride is one of the Seven Deadly Sins.

When viewed as a virtue, pride in one's appearance and abilities is known as virtuous pride, greatness of soul or magnanimity, but when viewed as a vice it is often termed vanity or vainglory. Pride can also manifest itself as a high opinion of one's nation (national pride) and ethnicity (ethnic pride).


Proud comes from late Old English prut, probably from Old French prud "brave, valiant" (11th century) (which became preux in French), from Late Latin term prodis "useful", which is compared with the Latin prodesse "be of use".[5] The sense of "having a high opinion of oneself", not in French, may reflect the Anglo-Saxons' opinion of the Norman knights who called themselves "proud."[6]

Philosophical views[edit]

Ancient Greek philosophy[edit]

Aristotle identified pride (megalopsuchia, variously translated as proper pride, greatness of soul and magnanimity)[7] as the crown of the virtues, distinguishing it from vanity, temperance, and humility, thus:

Now the man is thought to be proud who thinks himself worthy of great things, being worthy of them; for he who does so beyond his deserts is a fool, but no virtuous man is foolish or silly. The proud man, then, is the man we have described. For he who is worthy of little and thinks himself worthy of little is temperate, but not proud; for pride implies greatness, as beauty implies a goodsized body, and little people may be neat and well-proportioned but cannot be beautiful. [8]

He concludes then that

Pride, then, seems to be a sort of crown of the virtues; for it makes them more powerful, and it is not found without them. Therefore it is hard to be truly proud; for it is impossible without nobility and goodness of character. [9][10]

By contrast, Aristotle defined hubris as follows:

to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.[11]

Thus, although many religions may not recognize the difference, for Aristotle and many philosophers hubris is altogether an entirely different thing from pride.

Psychological views[edit]

As an emotion[edit]

In psychological terms, Pride is "a pleasant, sometimes exhilarating, emotion that results from a positive self-evaluation".[12] It was added by Tracy et al. to the University of California, Davis, Set of Emotion Expressions (UCDSEE) in 2009, as one of three "self-conscious" emotions known to have recognizable expressions (along with embarrassment and shame)[13]

The term "fiero" was coined by Italian psychologist Isabella Poggi to describe the pride experienced and expressed in the moments following a personal triumph over adversity.[14][15] Facial expressions and gestures that demonstrate pride can involve a lifting of the chin, smiles, or arms on hips to demonstrate victory. Individuals may implicitly grant status to others based solely on their expressions of pride, even in cases in which they wish to avoid doing so. Indeed, some studies shows that the nonverbal expression of pride conveys a message that is automatically perceived by others about a person's high social status in a group.[2]

Behaviorally, pride can also be expressed by adopting an expanded posture in which the head is tilted back and the arms extended out from the body. This postural display is innate as it is shown in congenitally blind individuals who have lacked the opportunity to see it in others.[16]

Positive outcomes[edit]

A common understanding of pride is that it results from self-directed satisfaction with meeting the personal goals; for example, Weiner et al. have posited that positive performance outcomes elicit pride in an individual when the event is appraised as having been caused by him alone. Moreover, Oveis et al. conceptualize pride as a display of the strong self that promotes feelings of similarity to strong others, as well as differentiation from weak others. Seen in this light, pride can be conceptualized as a hierarchy-enhancing emotion, as its experience and display helps rid negotiations of conflict.[17] Pride involves exhilarated pleasure and a feeling of accomplishment. It is related to "more positive behaviors and outcomes in the area where the individual is proud" (Weiner, 1985). Pride is generally associated with positive social behaviors such as helping others and outward promotion. Along with hope, it is also often described as an emotion that facilitates performance attainment, as it can help trigger and sustain focused and appetitive effort to prepare for upcoming evaluative events. It may also help enhance the quality and flexibility of the effort expended (Fredrickson, 2001). According to Bagozzi et al., pride can have the positive benefits of enhancing creativity, productivity, and altruism. For instance, it has been found that in terms of school achievement, pride is associated with a higher GPA in low neighborhood socioeconomic environments, whereas in more advantaged neighborhoods, high pride was associated with a lower GPA.[18]

In economic psychology[edit]

In the field of economic psychology, Pride is conceptualized in a spectrum ranging from ‘proper pride’, associated with genuine achievements, and ‘false pride,’ which can be maladaptive or even pathological. Lea et al. have examined the role of pride in various economic situations and claim that in all cases pride is involved because economic decisions are not taken in isolation from one another, but are linked together by the selfhood of the people who take them.[19] Understood in this way, pride is an emotional state that works to ensure that people take financial decisions that are in their long-term interests, even when in the short term they would appear irrational.

Sin, pride, and self-acceptance[edit]

Pride, from the Seven Deadly Sins by Jacob Matham c. 1592

Inordinate self-esteem is called pride.[20] Classical Christian theology views pride as the primary human problem, but beginning in the 20th century, “humanistic psychology” diagnosed the primary human problem as low self-esteem stemming from a lack of belief in one’s “true worth.” Carl Rogers observed that most people “regard themselves as worthless and unlovable.” Thus, they lack self-esteem.[21]

Dr. Terry D. Cooper (2003) conceptualizes excessive pride, along with low self-esteem, as an important paradigm in describing the human condition. He examines and compares the Augustinian-Niebuhrian conviction that pride is primary, the feminist concept of pride as being absent in the experience of women, the humanistic psychology position that pride does not adequately account for anyone's experience, and the humanistic psychology idea that if pride emerges, it is always a false front designed to protect an undervalued self.[22] He considers that the work of certain neo-Freudian psychoanalysts, namely Karen Horney, offers promise in dealing with what he calls a "deadlock between the overvalued and undervalued self" (Cooper, 112–3). He refers to their work in describing the connection between religious and psychological pride as well as sin to describe how a neurotic pride system underlies an appearance of self-contempt and low self-esteem:

The "idealized self," the "tyranny of the should," the "pride system" and the nature of self-hate all point toward the intertwined relationship between neurotic pride and self-contempt. understanding how a neurotic pride system underlies an appearance of self-contempt and low self-esteem. (Cooper, 112–3).

Hubris and group pride[edit]

Hubris itself is associated with more intra-individual negative outcomes and is commonly related to expressions of aggression and hostility (Tangney, 1999). As one might expect, Hubris is not necessarily associated with high self-esteem but with highly fluctuating or variable self-esteem. Excessive feelings of hubris have a tendency to create conflict and sometimes terminating close relationships, which has led it to be understood as one of the few emotions without any clear positive or adaptive functions (Rhodwalt, et al.). Several studies by UC Davis psychologist Cynthia Picket, have shown that groups that boast, gloat or denigrate others tend to have low social status or be vulnerable to threats from other groups.[23] Claiming that "hubristic, pompous displays of group pride might actually be a sign of group insecurity as opposed to a sign of strength," she believes that those that express pride by humbly focusing on members' efforts and hard work tend to have high social standing in both the public and personal eyes.

National pride[edit]

The Father and Mother by Boardman Robinson depicting War as the offspring of Greed and Pride.
Main article: Nationalism


In Germany, "national pride" ("Nationalstolz") is often associated with the former Nazi regime. Strong displays of national pride are therefore considered poor taste by many Germans. There is an ongoing public debate about the issue of German patriotism. The World Cup in 2006, held in Germany, saw a wave of patriotism sweep the country in a manner not seen for many years. Although many were hesitant to show such blatant support as the hanging of the national flag from windows, as the team progressed through the tournament, so too did the level of support across the nation.[24] By the time the semi-final against Italy came around, the level of national pride and unity was at its highest throughout the tournament, and the hosting of the World Cup is seen to have been a great success for Germany as a nation. After the World Cup, however, the subject of patriotism became again as difficult as it had been before.

Ethnic pride[edit]

Asian pride[edit]

Main article: Asian pride

Asian pride in modern slang refers mostly to those of East Asian descent, though it can include anyone of Asian descent. Asian pride was originally fragmented, as Asian nations have had long conflicts with each other, examples are the old Japanese and Chinese religious beliefs of their individual superiority. Asian pride emerged prominently during European colonialism.[25] At one time, Europeans controlled 85% of the world's land through colonialism, resulting in anti-Western feelings among Asian nations.[25] Today, some Asians still look upon European involvement in their affairs with suspicion.[25] In contrast, Asian empires are prominent and are proudly remembered by adherents to Asian Pride.

Black pride[edit]

Main article: Black pride

Black pride is a slogan used primarily in the United States to raise awareness for a black racial identity. The slogan has been used by African Americans of sub-Saharan African origin to denote a feeling of self-confidence, self-respect, celebrating one's heritage, and being proud of one's personal worth. Black pride as a national movement is closely linked with the developments of the American Civil Rights Movement. Roy Innis has sought to enhance and build on the black pride movement of the mid-1960s, he and a Congress of Racial Equality delegation toured seven African countries in 1971.

White Pride[edit]

Main article: White pride

White pride is a slogan used primarily in the United States for a white race identity. This is traditionally closely aligned with white supremacy, white separatism, and other extreme manifestations of white racism, but is not always used in this fashion.[26]

LGBT pride[edit]

Main articles: Gay pride and Pride parade
Gay Pride, Paris 2009

Gay pride refers to a world wide movement and philosophy asserting that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals should be proud of their sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT pride advocates work for equal "rights and benefits" for LGBT people.[27][28][29] The movement has three main premises: that people should be proud of their sexual preference and gender identity, that sexual diversity is a gift, and that sexual orientation and gender identity are inherent and cannot be intentionally altered.[30]

The word pride is used in this case an antonym for shame. Pride in this sense is an affirmation of ones self and the community as a whole. The modern "gay pride" movement began after the Stonewall riots of the late 1960s.[citation needed]


Main article: Vanity

In conventional parlance, vanity sometimes is used in a positive sense to refer to a rational concern for one's personal appearance, attractiveness and dress and is thus not the same as pride. However, it also refers to an excessive or irrational belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness in the eyes of others and may in so far be compared to pride. The term Vanity originates from the Latin word vanitas meaning emptiness, untruthfulness, futility, foolishness and empty pride.[31] Here empty pride means a fake pride, in the sense of vainglory, unjustified by one's own achievements and actions, but sought by pretense and appeals to superficial characteristics.

In many religions, vanity is considered a form of self-idolatry, in which one rejects God for the sake of one's own image, and thereby becomes divorced from the graces of God. The stories of Lucifer and Narcissus (who gave us the term narcissism), and others, attend to a pernicious aspect of vanity. In Western art, vanity was often symbolized by a peacock, and in Biblical terms, by the Whore of Babylon. In secular allegory, vanity was considered one of the minor vices. During the Renaissance, vanity was invariably represented as a naked woman, sometimes seated or reclining on a couch. She attends to her hair with comb and mirror. The mirror is sometimes held by a demon or a putto. Other symbols of vanity include jewels, gold coins, a purse, and often by the figure of death himself.

Often we find an inscription on a scroll that reads Omnia Vanitas ("All is Vanity"), a quote from the Latin translation of the Book of Ecclesiastes.[32] Although that phrase, itself depicted in a type of still life, vanitas, originally referred not to obsession with one's appearance, but to the ultimate fruitlessness of man's efforts in this world, the phrase summarizes the complete preoccupation of the subject of the picture.

"The artist invites us to pay lip-service to condemning her," writes Edwin Mullins, "while offering us full permission to drool over her. She admires herself in the glass, while we treat the picture that purports to incriminate her as another kind of glass—a window—through which we peer and secretly desire her."[33] The theme of the recumbent woman often merged artistically with the non-allegorical one of a reclining Venus.

"All Is Vanity" by C. Allan Gilbert, evoking the invetiable decay of life and beauty toward death.

In his table of the Seven Deadly Sins, Hieronymus Bosch depicts a bourgeois woman admiring herself in a mirror held up by a devil. Behind her is an open jewelry box. A painting attributed to Nicolas Tournier, which hangs in the Ashmolean Museum, is An Allegory of Justice and Vanity. A young woman holds a balance, symbolizing justice; she does not look at the mirror or the skull on the table before her. Vermeer's famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring is sometimes believed to depict the sin of vanity, as the young girl has adorned herself before a glass without further positive allegorical attributes.[34] All is Vanity, by Charles Allan Gilbert (1873–1929), carries on this theme. An optical illusion, the painting depicts what appears to be a large grinning skull. Upon closer examination, it reveals itself to be a young woman gazing at her reflection in the mirror. Such artistic works served to warn viewers of the ephemeral nature of youthful beauty, as well as the brevity of human life and the inevitability of death.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sullivan, GB (2007). "Wittgenstein and the grammar of pride: The relevance of philosophy to studies of self-evaluative emotions". New Ideas in Psychology 25 (3): 233–252. doi:10.1016/j.newideapsych.2007.03.003. 
  2. ^ a b "Knowing who's boss: implicit perceptions of status from the nonverbal expression of pride". Emotion 9: 631–9. October 2009. doi:10.1037/a0017089. PMID 19803585. 
  3. ^ "Est autem superbia amor proprie excellentie, et fuit initium peccati superbia."[1]
  4. ^ Baba, Meher (1967). Discourses. 2. San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented. p. 72. ISBN 978-1880619094.
  5. ^ Article from Free Online Dictionary, accessed 9 Nov. 2008
  6. ^ Article from Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed 20 June 2014
  7. ^ The Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle, James Alexander, Kerr Thomson, Hugh Tredennick, Jonathan Barnes translators. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  8. ^ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 4.3; also available here Sacred Texts – Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics; and here alternate translation at Perseus
  9. ^ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 4.3 Archived December 28, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Understanding Philosophy for AS Level AQA, by Christopher Hamilton (Google Books). Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  11. ^ Aristotle Rhetoric 1378b (Greek text and English translation available at the Perseus Project).
  12. ^ Lewis, M.; Takai-Kawakami, K.; Kawakami, K.; Sullivan, M. W. (2010). "Cultural differences in emotional responses to success and failure". International Journal of Behavioral Development 34 (1): 53–61. doi:10.1177/0165025409348559. 
  13. ^ Tracy, J. L.; Robins, R. W.; Schriber, R. A. (2009). "Development of a FACS-verified set of basic and self-conscious emotion expressions". Emotion 9 (4): 554–559. doi:10.1037/a0015766. 
  14. ^ Lazzaro, N. (2004). Why We Play Games: Four Keys to More Emotion Without Story. Retrieved from www.xeodesign.com/xeodesign_whyweplaygames.pdf
  15. ^ Language, Body (2010-10-23). "Sincerity Secret # 20: Fiero Feels Good – Mirror Neurons". Body Language Success. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  16. ^ Tracy & Matsumoto, 2008.
  17. ^ Oveis, C.; Horberg, E. J.; Keltner, D. (2010). "Compassion, pride, and social intuitions of self-other similarity". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 98 (4): 618–630. doi:10.1037/a0017628. 
  18. ^ Byrd, C. M.; Chavous, T. M. (2009). "Racial identity and academic achievement in the neighborhood context: a multilevel analysis .". J Youth Adolescence 38: 544–559. doi:10.1007/s10964-008-9381-9. 
  19. ^ Lea, S. E. G.; Webley, P. (1996). "Pride in economic psychology". Journal of Economic Psychology 18: 323–340. doi:10.1016/s0167-4870(97)00011-1. 
  20. ^ "pride, n.1". OED Online. December 2014. Oxford University Press. http://0-www.oed.com.librarycatalog.vts.edu/view/Entry/151185?rskey=L7lc4z&result=1 (accessed December 19, 2014).
  21. ^ Terry D. Cooper, Sin, Pride & Self-Acceptance: The Problem of Identity in Theology & Psychology (InterVar sity, 2003), 40, 87, 95.
  22. ^ Cooper, T. D. (2003). Sin, pride & self-acceptance: the problem of identity in theology & psychology. Chicago: InterVarsity Press.
  23. ^ Study is currently in revision
  24. ^ Sullivan, G. B. (2009). Germany during the 2006 World Cup: The role of television in creating a national narrative of pride and "party patriotism". In Castelló, E., Dhoest, A. & O'Donnell, H. (Eds.), The Nation on Screen, Discourses of the National in Global Television. Cambridge Scholars Press: Cambridge.
  25. ^ a b c Langguth, Gerd. German Foreign Affairs Review. "Dawn of the 'Pacific' Century?" 1996. June 30, 2007. [2]
  26. ^ Dobratz & Shanks-Meile 2001
  27. ^ "Pride celebrated worldwide". www.pridesource.com. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  28. ^ "GAY PRIDE IN EUROPE LOOKS GLOBALLY". direland.typepad.com. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  29. ^ "Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Equality -an Issue for us All". www.ucu.org.uk. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  30. ^ "Gay and Lesbian History Month" (PDF). www.bates.ctc.edu. Retrieved 2007-07-31. 
  31. ^ Words Latin-English Dictionary;Perseus Word Lookup
  32. ^ James Hall, Dictionary of Subjects & Symbols in Art (New York: Harper & Row, 1974), 318.
  33. ^ Edwin Mullins, The Painted Witch: How Western Artists Have Viewed the Sexuality of Women (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1985), 62–3.
  34. ^ http://essentialvermeer.20m.com/cat_about/necklace.htm


Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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It's a truth universally acknowledged that a person in want of a good project will adapt Pride and Prejudice–if not always to dazzling effect. The latest take, a two-part miniseries called Death Comes to Pemberley, premiered yesterday on PBS. And if ...

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