According to one Hadith by the Prophet Mohammad, Peace and Blessings upon him - the characteristics of a sheer Hypocrite are four and the one who possesses one of them, possesses the characteristics of Hypocrisy.
- when s/he is entrusted with something, s/he betrays the trust.
- when s/he speaks, s/he lies.
- when s/he promises, s/he acts treacherously.
- when s/he argues with a person, s/he spills that person's secrets.
In another Hadith on the same subject, the hypocrite is characterized as someone who pays lip service to something which s/he does not do or which s/he does not really believe in...
Surat Al-Baqara is specially dedicated to the Hypocrites, and this happens to be the longest Surat in the Koran.
So Hypocrisy really boils down to lying, deception, treason, cheating, divulging other's people secrets (I include gossip/backbiting in this category), pretending to be, believe, speak, act in a certain way and it's nothing but pretense - and the real intentions and acts are contrary to what is spoken.
Basically a hypocrite is someone who gets people to believe/trust his/her - words, deeds, person, etc...and then betrays you. And this is exactly what a hypocrite does.
So Hypocrisy is the root of Betrayal. And betrayal is a smashed broken trust. And a broken trust is a broken bond. And since in Islam bonds based on trust are sacred, a hypocrite is basically a violator of the Sacred.