Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one hamartia or multiple hamartias.)
Your hamartia is your tragic flaw. It's your particular weakness or character flaw that leads to your failure.
The plural is "hamartias," but that seems rare.
How to use it:
Before John Green's novel The Fault in Our Stars rose to popularity, I would have said that "hamartia" is too obscure a word to bother sharing with you. But the novel brings the word out of analyses of dusty old Greek literature and into our regular conversations. (In Green's story, we're invited to consider each character's hamartia, whether it's smoking cigarettes, having cancer, or making inappropriately grand gestures.)
Call anyone's major mistake or shortcoming a hamartia when you want to give a weighty, literary tone to your idea and when you also want to compare the flaw to something that would lead a Greek stage character to a tragic end. You can be serious or silly with this word. Often it's used possessively: my hamartia, her hamartia, the company's hamartia, etc.
Take special note of the pronunciation. Just like you wouldn't pronounce the Greek "Hercules" phonetically as "HER kyools," you wouldn't say "huh MARSH uh." Say "hah mar TEE uh."
An idea is nothing without hard work to bring it to fruition, and my hamartia is avoiding the detailed work that an idea's execution requires.
The company's hamartia was really just self-congratulatory complacency--they'd convinced themselves that the product was wonderful, a necessity, when it fact it was junk that no one wanted.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "hamartia" means when you can explain it without saying “Achilles' heel" or "main sin."
Think of a certain way you like to reward yourself, and fill in the blank: "Indulging in _____ may be silly or excessive, but it's not exactly a hamartia."
Example: "Indulging in a few hours of feverish reorganization of a closet may be silly or excessive, but it's not exactly a hamartia."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don't go straight to the review now;let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're reviewing recently featured words with some activities created with my favorite vocabulary software: Vocabulary Worksheet Factory, made by Schoolhouse Technologies. It's a simple, flexible program that lets you input word lists and definitions, then create customized, fun worksheets for review. We're starting off with very easy activities, then working our way toward harder reviews throughout the month.
Janet Choi: “The writer is a thinker and an observer, someone who has the discipline, attention span, and patience to sit through the very often painful, laborious, and sometime marvelous act of translating the wisps and threads in your head to something coherent, distinct, and substantive.”
1. The opposite of HAMARTIA is
A. MINOR TYPO
B. CHARACTER ASSET
C. REALIZED DREAM
2. What is Atticus's hamartia? Possibly _____?
A. an insistence that his children learn to respect others
B. the racism deeply rooted in his hometown
C. a naive assumption that everyone will listen to logic
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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