noun can·dor \ ˈkan-dər , -ˌdȯr \
|Updated on: 7 Jul 2018

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
3 a literary : brightness, brilliance
  • the sun poured with a more golden candor
  • —Christoper Morley
b obsolete : unstained purity
4 archaic : kindliness

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Examples of candor in a Sentence

  1. 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 KleinNew Yorker17 Jan. 2002
  2. 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. McNamaraIn Retrospect1995
  3. … thoughtful critics lamented what they designated Roosevelt's deviousness, his lack of candor —Doris Kearns GoodwinNew Yorker15 Aug. 1994
  4. 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 McInerneyNew York Times Book Review31 Mar. 1991
  5. She spoke with candor about racism.

  6. I was impressed by the candor of his statement.

Recent Examples of candor from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of candor

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

CANDOR Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of candor for English Language Learners

  • : the quality of being open, sincere, and honest

CANDOR Defined for Kids


noun can·dor \ ˈkan-dər \

Definition of candor for Students

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

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