candor

noun
can·​dor | \ ˈkan-dər How to pronounce candor (audio) , -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 As the oral history of his own life unfurls, Reiner reflects on his life, legacy, friendships, and the changing world and his place in it with his trademark wit, wisdom and candor. Melissa Locker, Time, "Here's What Carl Reiner Had to Say About Life, Family, and Comedy in His Last Interview During Quarantine," 30 June 2020 Across the hundred and twenty films that screened, a critic for Women & Film noticed a trend: a fount of documentaries that highlighted the vexing banalities of women’s lives, drawn from the candor and fury of their everyday. Phoebe Chen, The New York Review of Books, "The Films of Women’s Liberation," 27 June 2020 On point to flag some work that Fortune has been doing to bring candor and accountability to this urgent moment. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Fortune focuses on racism and allyship," 5 June 2020 With this decision, Justice Roberts has extended his ruling on the census, demanding executive candor regarding DACA as well. Morgan Marietta, The Conversation, "Supreme Court ruling on Dreamers sends a clear message to the White House: You have to tell the truth," 18 June 2020 The edit team at Fortune has been working overtime to bring candor, resources and accountability to this urgent moment. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Fortune focuses on racism and allyship," 5 June 2020 The profane candor, urgency, and impatience of Driss Ferdi had never been heard before in North African fiction. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, "Driss Chraïbi & the Novel Morocco Had to Ban," 2 Jan. 2020 Who is giving us honesty, transparency, candor, facts, hope ? Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Mark Cuban: Trump and Congress ‘ain’t doing shit’ besides trying to ‘blame’ others for coronavirus," 5 May 2020 In tender vignettes, the actor, 60, charts his life from birth to present day, writing with candor, vulnerability and sometimes regret about family, love, faith, financial problems and a waning acting career. Barbara Vandenburgh, USA TODAY, "Val Kilmer begged to be in ‘Top Gun’ sequel and other revelations from his new memoir," 23 Apr. 2020

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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Time Traveler for candor

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Candor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/candor. Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for candor

candor

noun
How to pronounce candor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of candor

: the quality of being open, sincere, and honest

candor

noun
can·​dor | \ ˈkan-dər How to pronounce candor (audio) \

Kids Definition of candor

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on candor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for candor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with candor

Spanish Central: Translation of candor

Nglish: Translation of candor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of candor for Arabic Speakers

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