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WoW: Perfidious

What is Perfidious??

This word originates from the 1590s and comes from the Latin word, perfidiosus from perfidy (treachery). In English, perfidious closely resembles the word “treacherous”. Its definition is, or, relating to, or marked by perfidy; treacherous. Treacherous of course is a word we are all quite familiar with. What we are more familiar with, is how being betrayed makes us feel. When we think of a treacherous person, we often think of someone who is dishonest or someone who has hurt us. A treacherous person is deceitful and evil hearted.

Most of you are probably thinking, what’s the purpose of learning a word that isn’t positive or inspiring? That is a valid question. While all these “word of the week(s)” relate to our 9-Virtues, not all of them bring a positive connotation. However, they do speak to the significance and importance of the virtue they associate with. In this case, perfidious relates to trustworthiness.

We’re familiar with trustworthiness. It means able to be relied upon, honest or truthful. With this definition in mind, we can see perfidious is the antonym of trustworthy. Trust is often considered one of the most valuable characteristics someone can have. The American Author and Educator Stephen Covey described the value of trust perfectly with this quote, “Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.It is close to impossible to build successful relationships with others if trust is not part of the relationship’s foundation.

Since trust is so valuable to us, then it should be equally important that we ourselves demonstrate a trustworthy character towards others. We can do this in many ways. This can include being honest with people, valuing what our words mean as we say them, staying true to our word, and maintaining integrity in our decisions. We can also demonstrate trust by minimizing any of our own potential perfidious behavior. Do you ever catch yourself deceiving and tricking others? Saying something without anticipating consequences? Have you betrayed anyone in your life or broken someone’s trust lately? If so, that means elements of perfidious behavior may be visible in your life. That doesn’t mean you are a perfidious person. Seeing this in your life may give you reason to focus on practicing trustworthy behaviors to improve your connections. This virtue will add growth in your relationships, allowing them to not only blossom, but thrive.

Today’s Takeaway:

Perfidious behavior is treacherous and can be damaging to the relationships with those around us. Life experience shows us that trust is an essential ingredient to the foundation of successful relationships. Trust is one of the characteristics we should value most in ourselves and other people. By being honest with others, showing care for them, and keeping our promises, we can demonstrate the value of this virtue and see our relationships thrive.


Parting Challenge:

Conduct a self-examination to identify any potential perfidious behaviors in your life and begin the process of replacing those behaviors with trustworthy behaviors.

  • Ask those closest to you if they consider you to be trustworthy. Will they help keep you accountable to moving on from those behaviors

  • Can you identify any perfidious people in your life past or present? What impact did their behavior have on your life?

  • Are there perfidious people in your life that you need to move on from?


Continuing the Conversation:

On your journey to building trusting relationships ponder on these questions and suggestions

  • Who is the person you trust most in your life? How was that trust developed?

  • Ask those closest to you if they consider you to be trustworthy. Ask them to share what characteristics of trust you demonstrate best.

  • Is there someone in your life that has betrayed or broken your trust? How did that betrayal impact your own behavior? Is there potential to rebuild trust with that person?

  • Pick 2 people in your circles of influence you would like to build trust with and find opportunities to build trust with them.

We love to hear your stories!

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The Auto-B-Good 9-Virtues SEL program features 63 award-winning animated lessons that help students develop good character and become rising stars. To learn more about this great resource visit us at

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