dis·​hon·​est (ˌ)dis-ˈä-nəst How to pronounce dishonest (audio)
 also  (ˌ)diz-
obsolete : shameful, unchaste
: characterized by lack of truth, honesty, or trustworthiness : unfair, deceptive
dishonestly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for dishonest

dishonest, deceitful, mendacious, untruthful mean unworthy of trust or belief.

dishonest implies a willful perversion of truth in order to deceive, cheat, or defraud.

a swindle usually involves two dishonest people

deceitful usually implies an intent to mislead and commonly suggests a false appearance or double-dealing.

the secret affairs of a deceitful spouse

mendacious may suggest bland or even harmlessly mischievous deceit and when used of people often suggests a habit of telling untruths.

mendacious tales of adventure

untruthful stresses a discrepancy between what is said and fact or reality.

an untruthful account of their actions

Examples of dishonest in a Sentence

She gave dishonest answers to our questions. I think he is being dishonest about how much he knows
Recent Examples on the Web Jarvis didn’t approve of Rose’s flirtatious ways with clients, and Rose perceived a client’s meeting with Jarvis’ fiancé as dishonest scheming. Jp Mangalindan, Peoplemag, 9 Sep. 2023 The outlet often breaks traditional news ethics and traffics in dishonest reporting and commentary. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 26 Aug. 2023 Critics of the hire have framed Dilfer as a high school coach, but that’s a dishonest accounting of his experience (and not to mention an unfair shot at high school coaches). Joseph Goodman, al, 29 Aug. 2023 Every moving company advocated is licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, established within the Department for Transportation to protect people from fraudulent and dishonest movers. Jon Stojan, USA TODAY, 23 Aug. 2023 The chaotic and dishonest federal response to COVID-19 response was a steep price Americans paid for Trump’s assault on truth. Time, 14 Aug. 2023 In our current free market economy rife with short-termism, crony capitalism, greed, and dishonest marketing, values should occupy concerted space in our social impact agendas. Daniel Lubetzky, Fortune, 8 Aug. 2023 Chaudhry claims that the woman involved was being dishonest about her version of events. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 9 Aug. 2023 Under Ohio’s current system, all that’s needed to amend our state’s governing document is to gather petitions to put an amendment on the statewide ballot, fund a dishonest ad campaign, and win a simple majority vote. Frank Larose, National Review, 7 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dishonest.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French deshoneste, from des- dis- + honeste honest

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dishonest was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near dishonest

Cite this Entry

“Dishonest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​hon·​est (ˈ)dis-ˈän-əst How to pronounce dishonest (audio)
: not honest or trustworthy : deceitful
dishonest people
dishonestly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on dishonest

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