can·​did | \ˈkan-dəd \

Definition of candid 

1a : marked by honest sincere expression a candid discussion

b : disposed to criticize severely : blunt candid critics

c : indicating or suggesting sincere honesty and absence of deception her candid face

2 : free from bias, prejudice, or malice : fair a candid observer

3 : relating to or being photography of subjects acting naturally or spontaneously without being posed candid photos of the family at play

4 : white candid flames

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Other Words from candid

candidly adverb
candidness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for candid

frank, candid, open, plain mean showing willingness to tell what one feels or thinks. frank stresses lack of shyness or secretiveness or of evasiveness from considerations of tact or expedience. frank discussions candid suggests expression marked by sincerity and honesty especially in offering unwelcome criticism or opinion. a candid appraisal open implies frankness but suggests more indiscretion than frank and less earnestness than candid. open in saying what they think plain suggests outspokenness and freedom from affectation or subtlety in expression. plain talk

The Many Shades of Candid

It is interesting that candid, which has the original meaning in English of “white,” should have so many colors of meaning. The word comes from the French candide, which is from the Latin candidus (“bright, white”). Candid is not often used to mean “white” these days, and has shed another of its older meanings, “clear, pure.” Many of its current meanings are concerned with forms of honesty and forthrightness. It may refer to the indication or suggestion of sincere honesty (“her candid eyes”), or to something being marked by honest expression (“a candid talk”). However, it also carries the meaning of bluntness (or “disposed to criticize severely”), as well as “free from bias, prejudice, or malice.” The most recent sense it has taken on is in the vocabulary of photography: “relating to or being photography of subjects acting naturally or spontaneously without being posed.”

Examples of candid in a Sentence

If Bart Knaggs had been totally candid, he would have told me that when his prospective father-in-law, who was a doctor, had heard that the cancer had moved into my lungs, he said to Bart, "Well, your friend is dead." — Lance Armstrong, It's Not About the Bike, (2000) 2001 To be candid, I have wondered whether it is fair to write about a man for whom I cannot help but feel a real distaste. — Jill Lepore, Journal of American History, June 2001 There are candid … anecdotes of open-heart surgery. — Joyce Carol Oates, New York Times Book Review, 30 Sept. 1990 He was quite candid about his past. She gave us her candid opinion on the matter.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Other Democratic candidates are more candid about their tax ambitions. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Battle of the Statehouses," 23 Oct. 2018 She was known to be unusually candid about what policies are and are not working in the region’s fight to help people off the streets. Vernal Coleman, The Seattle Times, "King County human services director, key in fight against homelessness, to step down," 18 Sep. 2018 In her most recent candid post, Teigen revealed an up-close-and-personal look at her post-baby body. Megan Decker, Harper's BAZAAR, "Chrissy Teigen Just Shared a Video of Her Post-Baby Stretch Marks on Instagram," 31 May 2018 My candid posts about anxiety and depression prompt people to examine their own mental health. Sophie Gray, Marie Claire, "Way of Gray Was One of the Most Popular #Fitspo Accounts—Then Fans Started Unfollowing," 28 Dec. 2017 In a candid moment, Harry let a 4-year-old tug at his red beard. Erin Hill,, "This Toddler Couldn't Stop Touching Meghan Markle's Hair and Prince Harry Wasn't Having It!," 11 July 2018 During the interview, out Tuesday, Swift and Boyd got candid about their connection to music and more. Sara M Moniuszko, USA TODAY, "Taylor Swift channels Pattie Boyd in interview with the rock 'n' roll icon for Harper's Bazaar," 10 July 2018 While Soros's statement may have been the most candid and public slight at Gillibrand, anger with her continues to bubble on the left. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "George Soros and sexism on the left in the age of #MeToo," 11 June 2018 She's addressed these problematic comments before, but gets particularly candid about them in her new cover interview for the July 2018 issue of Harper's Bazaar U.K.. Andrea Park, Glamour, "Serena Williams Has the Perfect Response for People Who Call Her 'Manly'," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'candid.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of candid

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 4

History and Etymology for candid

French & Latin; French candide, from Latin candidus bright, white, from candēre to shine, glow; akin to Welsh can white, Sanskrit candati it shines

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Statistics for candid

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for candid

The first known use of candid was in 1606

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More Definitions for candid



English Language Learners Definition of candid

: expressing opinions and feelings in an honest and sincere way

photography : showing people acting in a natural way because they do not know that they are being photographed


can·​did | \ˈkan-dəd \

Kids Definition of candid

1 : marked by or showing honesty : frank a candid discussion

2 : relating to photography of people acting naturally without being posed a candid picture

Other Words from candid

candidly adverb She spoke candidly about her mistakes.

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Comments on candid

What made you want to look up candid? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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