candor

noun
can·​dor | \ ˈkan-dər, -ˌdȯr\

Definition of candor

1 : unreserved, honest, or sincere expression : forthrightness the candor with which he acknowledged a weakness in his own case— Aldous Huxley
2 : freedom from prejudice or malice : fairness … a heavy accusation … from a gentleman of your talents, liberality, and candor.— Noah Webster
3a literary : brightness, brilliance the sun poured with a more golden candor— Christoper Morley
b obsolete : unstained purity
4 archaic : kindliness

Keep scrolling for more

Candor: It Can Be Refreshing

Candor, related to the adjective candid, refers to straightforward honesty or frankness in speech or expression. The fact that it is frequently preceded by the adjective refreshing suggests that it is often unexpected, a shift from guarded or euphemistic language:

This is perhaps the busiest and craziest time of the year for device-case maker Brian Holmes, and he told me today with refreshing candor that “I am about to lose my mind.”
Julio Ojeda-Zapata, St. Paul Pioneer Press, 9 Sept. 2016

They are openly afraid of starting a family and making mistakes, and this refreshing candor between characters is what makes the show one of the best rom-coms on TV.
Julia Edelman, People, 8 Apr. 2016

Did You Know?

The origins of "candor" shine through in its first definition. "Candor" traces back to the Latin verb candēre ("to shine or glow"), which in turn derives from the same ancient root that gave the Welsh language can, meaning "white," and the Sanskrit language "candati," which translates to "it shines." Other descendants of "candēre" in English include "candid," "incandescent," "candle," and the somewhat less common "candent" and "candescent" (both of which are synonyms of "incandescent" in the sense of "glowing from or as if from great heat"). There is even "excandescence ," an uncommon word that refers to a feverish condition brought on by anger or passion.

Examples of candor in a Sentence

But a more subtle, and perhaps the most powerful, quality in the Senator's arsenal of attractions is an unrelenting candor that verges on self-reproach … — Joe Klein, New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2002 People are human; they are fallible. I concede with painful candor and a heavy heart that the adage applies to me and to my generation of American leadership regarding Vietnam. — Robert S. McNamara, In Retrospect, 1995 … thoughtful critics lamented what they designated Roosevelt's deviousness, his lack of candor — Doris Kearns Goodwin, New Yorker, 15 Aug. 1994 One hardly knows which to admire more, the candor of the author or the forbearance of his wife and his buddy, who somehow manage to refrain from cuffing him smartly upside the head. — Jay McInerney, New York Times Book Review, 31 Mar. 1991 She spoke with candor about racism. I was impressed by the candor of his statement.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

With all humility aside, and in all candor, there is one very prominent common factor in both #434 and #435 …. PAUL HEYMAN! Justin Barrasso, SI.com, "The Week in Wrestling: Kenny Omega Finally Reaches NJPW’s Pinnacle With Win Over Okada," 13 June 2018 Ariana didn't hold back her signature candor in her speech, either. Anna Moeslein, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Got Candid About the “Worst” Year of Her Life in Her Billboard Women in Music Speech," 7 Dec. 2018 Grande didn't hold back her signature candor in her speech, either. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Ariana Grande: 'As Far As My Personal Life Goes, I Really Have No Idea What the F*ck I'm Doing'," 6 Dec. 2018 The Senate took him at his word, praising him for his candor and (late in the day) his endurance. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Congress is getting better at questioning social media executives," 6 Sep. 2018 This lack of candor has long characterized the left. F.h. Buckley, WSJ, "Trump Fans, Acknowledge His Failings," 18 July 2018 The icon, whose career spans nearly 60 years and includes more than 100 films, speaks with the same candor about acting. Eléonore Marchand; Photographs By: Giovanni Gastel, Harper's BAZAAR, "Catherine Deneuve Opens Up About the #MeToo Movement," 12 July 2018 His father finally found out, and as punishment for his son’s lack of candor, did not attend his middle school graduation. New York Times, "At Graduation, a Son in the Limelight and a Father in the Shadows," 3 July 2018 The 25-track double-album finds Drake slashing his way through the muddy waters of hip-hop gossip, baby mama drama, and his contentious feud with Pusha T. Rather than bluff and bluster, Drizzy aims and fires with bullets of candor. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "DJ Premier on Making Drake's 'Sandra's Rose' & Their Unfinished Song 'Sail' With Rick Ross," 29 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of candor

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for candor

French & Latin; French candeur, from Latin candor, from candēre — more at candid

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about candor

Listen to Our Podcast about candor

Statistics for candor

Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for candor

The first known use of candor was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for candor

candor

noun

English Language Learners Definition of candor

: the quality of being open, sincere, and honest

candor

noun
can·​dor | \ ˈkan-dər \

Kids Definition of candor

: sincere and honest expression She spoke with candor about the problem.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on candor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with candor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for candor

Spanish Central: Translation of candor

Nglish: Translation of candor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of candor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on candor

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

WORD OF THE DAY

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!