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

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 The severe threat has us a little concerned today, to be honest. Jennifer Gray, CNN, 16 May 2022 But nor, to be honest, did there really need to be? Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 12 May 2022 But to be honest, if Netflix had taken a shot at Iron Chef without me, that would have broken my heart. Gerrad Hall, EW.com, 12 May 2022 Well, a lot of it was just us asking our friends to be a part of it, to be honest. Stephen Daw, Billboard, 12 May 2022 To be honest, one of the most proudest moments in my life was to watch our distiller Gregorio Velasco walking to the christening of this plant, next to the priest that is blessing this operation. Adam Morganstern, Forbes, 5 May 2022 Every artist can learn a lot from Russ, to be honest. Shirley Ju, Variety, 5 May 2022 Dedicate fully to her; 2) Be honest but be open-minded. Marisa Bate, refinery29.com, 29 Apr. 2022 To be honest, eradicating homelessness is going to be a process. Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 May 2022 See More

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.

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near honest

hone in on


honest broker

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for honest

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Honest.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honest. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for honest


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on honest

Nglish: Translation of honest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of honest for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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