I moved to Montreal from Australia 3 months ago. I'm gradually learning French but am not confident enough to ask in French yet.
So I'm having an argument with a French speaking (bilingual) friend here. She says that "hypocrite" is a synonym for disingenuous, two-faced, or just being a fake person. I told her that "hypocrite" in English captures a more narrow meaning. It has to imply that your judging someone else but doing the thing you're critical of yourself. You would use the word "hypocrite" in English if a guy called someone a terrible father but went home that night to beat his kids. My friend also wants to use the word hypocrite for a situation where let's say a girl is talking to another woman and she pretends she likes her but as soon as she's gone she says "I hate that woman". I would never use the word hypocrite here.
Are the words different in French and English? She's insisting they mean exactly the same thing and now she has me questioning it. I looked up the origins of the word and it is an Old French word. I'm fascinated about whether it's possible for identical words across languages to have their meanings drift over time. You could imagine how this might happen a lot.. Especially in cases where the meaning just mutates a little or gets a little more specific in one language. Most English people, if they heard a French person say "hypocrite" in the 2 faced meaning would probably not even bother to correct. Because it's close enough.
Edit: The English definition here seems to match my suspicions exactly. I'm wondering now if there is a difference in the word from UK/Australian English to American/Canadian. I'm more confused than ever. People seem to be quite divided on this. People will vehemently insist it means one meaning or another.
The French definition here smuggles in the extra part of "hiding her true feelings". This is not part of the definition in the way I understand the English word.