What does hamartia mean?

Definitions for hamartiaˌhɑ mɑrˈti ə

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word hamartia.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. tragic flaw, hamartia(noun)

    the character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall


  1. hamartia(Noun)

    The tragic flaw of the protagonist in a literary tragedy.

    Creon's main and foremost hamartia was his excessive pride.

  2. hamartia(Noun)

    (Christian theology): sin

  3. Origin: From ἁμαρτία (hamartia), meaning error or failure. From the verb ἁμαρτάνω hamartanō, "to miss the mark".


  1. Hamartia

    Hamartia is a word most famously used in Aristotle's Poetics, where it is usually translated as a mistake or error in judgment. In modern discussions of tragedy, hamartia has often been described as a hero's "tragic flaw." The word hamartia is rooted in the notion of missing the mark and covers a broad spectrum that includes ignorant, mistaken, or accidental wrongdoing, as well as deliberate iniquity, error, or sin. This form of drawing emotion from the audience is a staple of the Greek tragedies. 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 is applied to the actions of the hero. For example, the hero might attempt to achieve a certain objective X; by making an error in judgment, however, the hero instead achieves the opposite of X, with disastrous consequences. However, hamartia cannot be sharply defined or have an exact meaning assigned to it. Consequently, a number of alternate interpretations have been associated with it, such as in the New Testament where hamartia is the Greek word translated "sin". Bible translators may reach this conclusion, according to T. C. W. Stinton, because another common interpretation of hamartia can be seen as a “moral deficit” or a “moral error”. R. D. Dawe disagrees with Stinton’s view when he points out in some cases hamartia can even mean to not sin. It can be seen in this opposing context if the main character does not carry out an action because it is a sin. This failure to act, in turn, must lead to a poor change in fortune for the main character in order for it to truly be a hamartia.


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of hamartia in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of hamartia in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Images & Illustrations of hamartia

  1. hamartiahamartiahamartia

Translations for hamartia

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for hamartia »


Find a translation for the hamartia definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these hamartia definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"hamartia." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 24 Apr. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/hamartia>.

Are we missing a good definition for hamartia? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for hamartia:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.