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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Williams' candor is certainly a departure from the often-blithe tabloid message that celebrities return, flat-abbed and fierce, two weeks after leaving the maternity ward, setting an absurd and impossible standard for normal women everywhere. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Serena Williams Gets Real About How Hard It Is to Return From Maternity Leave—Even For A Superstar," 22 Mar. 2018 The accompaniment is raw, stripped down, and often blues-inflected as Reilly confronts a dystopian world and his own shortcomings with unsparing candor and cutting humor. Philly.com, "Manayunk Arts Festival, Juneteenth, Bluebird Distilling 3rd Anniversary Party, and other events in Philadelphia, June 22-29," 21 June 2018 The visceral effect sows anxiety, but still the rapper’s candor is comforting. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Cathartic Symphony of Future’s Beast Mode 2," 6 July 2018 No doubt a certain pall hangs over the film, perhaps inevitable with the subject, and aided by the cathartic candor of most interviewees. Graham Ambrose, BostonGlobe.com, "Darkness and light in Whitney Houston documentary," 4 July 2018 He will be greatly missed for his wisdom and candor. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "'Pawn Stars' special on Richard 'Old Man' Harrison to air on History Channel," 27 June 2018 Since launching her YouTube channel over a decade ago, the 31-year-old's refreshing candor has earned her a reputation for telling it like is. Jackie Aina, Glamour, "Jackie Aina Is Changing the Beauty Industry, One Product at a Time," 26 June 2018 The subject of this column isn’t talent, vision, grit, emotional intelligence, radical candor or any other leadership skill that people aspire to possess. Sam Walker, WSJ, "Sergio Ramos, the World Cup and the Benefits of Bad Sportsmanship," 13 June 2018 His writing, humor, & candor always reminding me of home. Dakin Andone, CNN, "The world reacts to the death of chef and storyteller Anthony Bourdain," 8 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.

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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

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Statistics for candor

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for candor

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

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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.

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