hon·​est | \ ˈä-nəst How to pronounce honest (audio) \

Definition of honest

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : free from fraud or deception : legitimate, truthful an honest plea an honest presentation of facts
b : genuine, real making honest stops at stop signsChristian Science Monitor
c : humble, plain good honest food
2a : reputable, respectable honest decent people
b chiefly British : good, worthy an honest fellow
3 : worthy of praise an honest day's work put forth an honest effort
4a : marked by integrity honest merchants
b : marked by free, forthright, and sincere expression : frank an honest appraisal an honest discussion
c : direct and uncomplicated : innocent, simple some good honest sleep



Definition of honest (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in a genuine or honest (see honest entry 1) manner : honestly I have ever found thee honest true— William Shakespeare
2 : with all sincerity I didn't do it, honest

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for honest

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for honest


upright, honest, just, conscientious, scrupulous, honorable mean having or showing a strict regard for what is morally right. upright implies a strict adherence to moral principles. a stern and upright minister honest stresses adherence to such virtues as truthfulness, candor, or fairness. known for being honest in business dealings just stresses conscious choice and regular practice of what is right or equitable. workers given just compensation conscientious and scrupulous imply an active moral sense governing all one's actions and painstaking efforts to follow one's conscience. conscientious in the completion of her assignments scrupulous in carrying out the terms of the will honorable suggests a firm holding to codes of right behavior and the guidance of a high sense of honor and duty. a difficult but honorable decision

Examples of honest in a Sentence

Adjective He says that it's impossible to find an honest politician. These criminals pose a danger to honest citizens. He has an honest face. Just give me an honest answer. If you want my honest opinion, you should get a job. To be perfectly honest, I don't want to go. He gave us a painfully honest account of his childhood. It was an honest error. He still goes to the office every morning and puts in an honest day's work.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And to be honest, most mobile companies are starting to abandon the format altogether. Eric Alt, Popular Science, "Best VR headsets: Bring your entertainment to life," 11 Jan. 2021 To be honest, this 2011 prequel to John Carpenter’s perfect original is better than it was given credit for when it was released. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, "The 30 Best Horror Movies on HBO Max," 8 Jan. 2021 Because to be honest with you, that is what that comes down to. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Inside Andre Drummond’s return to Detroit: An emotional night ends with a Cavaliers win and J.B. Bickerstaff’s trust," 27 Dec. 2020 Mulaney has been honest with audiences about his past struggles with drugs and alcohol. Haley Victory Smith, Washington Examiner, "John Mulaney checks into rehab for alcohol and cocaine addiction: Report," 21 Dec. 2020 Reeling from the news of her son’s injury, Amber was honest with investigators about ongoing domestic violence with her children’s father and asked for help finding a new residence. USA Today, "Her memory of the midnight attack was muddled, but her battered body bore the story.," 17 Dec. 2020 Our hospital systems are already working on the staffing plan, and to be honest with you, that's part of the reason why our health care workers are prioritized for getting the vaccine first. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's top doctor: COVID-19 brings 'the most massive vaccination effort in a century'," 7 Dec. 2020 It’s time to be honest with yourself about your friendships. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, "Daily horoscope for November 26, 2020," 26 Nov. 2020 Be honest with your kids — to an extent There is no need to conceal the realities of COVID-19. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, "Parents, 2020 could be a time for new holiday traditions that outlast COVID-19 restrictions," 25 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'honest.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of honest


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for honest

Adjective and Adverb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin honestus honorable, from honos, honor honor

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about honest

Time Traveler for honest

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for honest

Last Updated

18 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Honest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honest. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for honest


How to pronounce honest (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of honest

: good and truthful : not lying, stealing, or cheating
: showing or suggesting a good and truthful character
: not hiding the truth about someone or something : not meant to deceive someone


hon·​est | \ ˈä-nəst How to pronounce honest (audio) \

Kids Definition of honest

1 : not engaging in or involving cheating, stealing, or lying an honest citizen an honest living
2 : not marked by lies or trickery : straightforward an honest answer
3 : being just what is indicated : real, genuine He did an honest day's work.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on honest

What made you want to look up honest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!