Definition of Tartuffe in English:



literary, humorous
  • A religious hypocrite, or a hypocritical pretender to excellence of any kind.

    • ‘Some of this book makes uncomfortable reading for Catholics, because several of the most outré orientalists who have controlled French policy in the last century turn out to have been Tartuffes of the worst kind.’
    • ‘I've seen some Tartuffes you would not let through the front door.’
    • ‘But neither were they Tartuffes in caftans: for them, like their Arab predecessors, the erotic and the spiritual coexisted along a delicate continuum.’
    • ‘We are all too aware of the Tartuffes of our day using the façade of religion to further their own selfish aims.’
    • ‘W. A. Clark's multimillions and his art collection attracted both protagonists and Tartuffes.’


From the name of the principal character (a religious hypocrite) in Molière's Tartuffe (1664).