People collect all kinds of things, teapots, stamps, coins, chess sets, etc. I collect words. I have lists of them in files on my computer, in notebooks, and in my email account. Something will remind me of one and I’ll have to go back and look it up.

Recently I had cause to remember tartuffery. I am sure not very many of you have ever heard of it, but I bet a lot of you have run into it on several occasions. A Tartuffe is  a person who hypocritically pretends to be deeply pious. Tartuffery is the behavior of hypocritical piety.

Some words sound like their meanings, like the words ‘fluid’ or ‘ruckus’. The ‘u’ in Tartuffe is pronounced short (ŭ). To me this makes the word sound just like what it means, which makes me grin.

I suppose you are all wondering what made me remember tartuffery. In my research for “Three Sisters Exclusive”, I come across a lot of tartuffes and a lot of tartuffery. It is amazing how obvious they are, even online. The word originated with the screenplay Tartuffe by a French playwright, Molière, in the 1600’s. The Gutenberg Library has the complete play available for free download.

I remember as a young girl meeting different leaders in the brethren group I was in, and being impressed (or not) by their sincerity. Some were so obviously hypocritical I was always astounded when no one else seemed to see it.

As I grew older, my sensitivity became buried under layers of denial and religious rules. So that by the time I was excommunicated   (at 38), I could no longer differentiate genuine sincerity from religious zeal and avarice.  Thankfully, for the most part, my sensibilities have been revived.

Would any of my readers like to share an experience you’ve had with a tartuffe? I’d love to hear from you.

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