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 While his candor is admirable, Edelman’s ploy doesn’t even crack the list of the Patriots’ 100 worst cheats. Kevin Cusick, Twin Cities, "The Loop NFL Picks: Week 17," 25 Dec. 2019 Joseph was recognized for his candor, insight and cooperation in his daily interactions with reporters who regularly cover the team. Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle, "Texans' Johnathan Joseph, Deshaun Watson honored by local media," 26 Dec. 2019 There was a candor, a humility, a groundedness to the conversation that shattered all expectations. Brandon Uranowitz, Town & Country, "Legendary Broadway Director Hal Prince Remembered For His "Immovable Reverence for Talent"," 5 Aug. 2019 The book is a dance between candor and diplomacy, as Andrews navigates the imperative of honesty with the courteousness that seems to be her governing instinct. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "The Charming Candor of Julie Andrews’s New Memoir," 16 Oct. 2019 The film version, which announces itself as ‘based on an actual lie,’ has a loose, anecdotal structure and a tone that balances candor and tact. Mark Olsen, latimes.com, "Indie Focus: Real lies and true emotions in ‘The Farewell’," 12 July 2019 Star Megan Rapinoe epitomized the team’s confidence, candor, and poise. David Clark Scott, The Christian Science Monitor, "Monday Sunrise Edition: US women are defiant world champions," 8 July 2019 His own statements have called into question his credibility, after several other witnesses have raised doubts about his candor. New York Times, "Why Discrepancies in Gordon Sondland’s Testimony in the Impeachment Inquiry Loom Large," 20 Nov. 2019 Her candor in the book is only an extension of her efforts at The Siwe Project, a non-profit organization promoting mental health awareness in the black community. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Former Poet Bassey Ikpi Opens Up About Depression and Bipolar Disorder in Candid Essay Collection," 10 Oct. 2019

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

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Candor.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/candors. Accessed 20 January 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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