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

García-Siller’s candor was surprising in part because faith leaders have been slow to call out Trump, seemingly more afraid of insulting their flocks than challenging them. Elaine Ayala, ExpressNews.com, "Blunt Twitter talk from an archbishop and a congressman," 8 Aug. 2019 He was dismissed less than two days before his retirement date following his being under investigation by the Justice Department’s inspector general for improper disclosure of information to the media and lack of candor to federal investigators. Cnn.com Wire Service, The Mercury News, "McCabe sues Justice Department, FBI over his firing," 8 Aug. 2019 The calls also offered a rare moment of candor by a reputed gang member on how the reality of the city’s streets had forced him to carry a street slang for a gun for protection. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Daywatch: A rare look at Chicago’s entrenched gun culture, post-Lollapalooza depression and other things to know to start your day," 6 Aug. 2019 The candor feels right for 2019, a year that has found the conversation about mental health spurred on by young people. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "Billie Eilish Gets Real About Her Struggles With Body Dysmorphia," 1 Aug. 2019 As NBC News has previously reported, that candor contributed to a strain between Coats and Trump that led to the DNI's departure. Ken Dilanian, NBC News, "Intel officials worry Trump's pick for top spy will politicize the job," 29 July 2019 Its lack of candor caught up to it, and honesty may now come too late. David French, National Review, "Why Trump Lost the Census Case," 27 June 2019 Don’t give Google too much credit for candor, however. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "Google was never really serious about tablets," 21 June 2019 So far, no politician has addressed this alliance with the necessary intensity or candor. Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "Letters," 22 July 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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Statistics for candor

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

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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 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

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

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