The word pride in itself isn’t an important word but it’s meaning implies many things. There are several different definitions for pride. Pride can be referred to as a type of plant, a form of body ornamentation, or even a group of lions. The most commonly used definition of pride is being proud, or having a feeling of great accomplishment and feeling self-satisfaction. The word pride both positive and negative meanings that can be seen throughout history.
In 1297AD, pride was described as “A consciousness or feeling of what is befitting or due to oneself or one's position, which prevents a person from doing what he considers to be beneath him or unworthy of him; esp. as a good quality, legitimate, ‘honest’, or ‘proper pride’, self-respect; also as a mistaken or misapplied feeling, ‘false pride’” (OED 4). This type of pride is personal pride and the image a person must maintain to keep it. A person cannot allow them self to act in such a way that would be demeaning. An example of this would be a drill sergeant getting down with his recruits and performing the same demeaning drills as they are. The sergeant’s years of hard work and service would not be taken seriously if he were to lower himself to the level of their recruits therefore lowering his sense of pride.
Too much pride can lead to conceit or what we commonly call a big head. By 1340 AD, pride was comparable to arrogance. (OED 1) Later during the Middle Ages there were seven sins listed as the worst sins of all. They were called “the seven deadly sins”. The first on the list was pride. Pride was believed to be “a high or overweening opinion of one’s own qualities, attainments, or estate, which gives rise to a feeling and attitude of superiority over and contempt for others” (OED 2). This usage of the word pride gives it a negative cynical connotation, describing people as vain, arrogant or...