What Does Pride Comes Before the Fall Mean?

Pride Comes Before the Fall Meaning

Definition: If a person is too arrogant, he or she will make a mistake or fail in a big way.

This phrase is also said pride goes before the fall.

Origin of Pride Comes Before the Fall

This expression comes from The Book of Proverbs in the Bible. It is sometimes quoted as pride goeth before the fall. The original quote from the King James Bible is Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Some theologians interpret this to mean that a proud person will be condemned to hell. This goes together with the idea that humble people will be rewarded in heaven. It also means that an arrogant person is more prone to sin and, therefore, will receive punishment.

Despite the religious origins, people use this nowadays without religious overtones. People can say this simply as a warning not to be too arrogant.

An arrogant person might think he cannot make a mistake and, therefore, he is more prone to making mistakes in the first place. He will also be more embarrassed by any mistake that he does make.

Examples of Pride Comes Before the Fall

pride comes before a fallIn the example below, a husband tells his wife about how great he is doing at work.

Kip: Great news! I’ve been promoted again! I’m the youngest person ever to become a CEO in this company.

Caroline: That’s wonderful, dear!

Kip: It’s even better because I have only been with this company for a year. I must be some type of business genius. No one else can match my talent! Everyone below me in the company hierarchy is an imbecile!

Caroline: That seems a little arrogant. There’s no need to put others down.

Kip: Why not? I’m the best!

Caroline: Pride goes before the fall. Be careful.

pride cometh before a fallIn this second example, two lawyers are discussing their boss at their firm.

Jessica: Our boss thinks he’s so great. He treats everyone working under him like idiots.

George: I know. It’s ironic because he’s honestly not that special. He has a very overinflated view of his own abilities.

Jessica: Don’t worry. Pride goes before the fall. He’ll eventually get what he deserves.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a politician who seems too ambitious.

  • If pride goeth before the fall, a healthy dose of hubris preceded McConnell’s setback. For a man who titled his memoir “The Long Game,” McConnell’s decision to dive into health care as the Senate’s first major order of business remains a head-scratcher. –Washington Post

This excerpt is from an article about bosses who are bullies.

  • One of my favorite Bible verses is actually the most misquoted: “Pride goeth before the fall.” The actual scripture says “Pride goeth before destruction.” The difference is small but important. The former seems to refer to individuals falling from power. The latter is more ominous: destruction. –Forbes


The saying pride goes before the fall means an arrogant person will get his or her comeuppance.