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

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Synonyms & Antonyms for honest

Synonyms: Adjective

truthful, veracious

Antonyms: Adjective

dishonest, fibbing, lying, mendacious, prevaricating, untruthful

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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


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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The interview was extremely honest, and Justin isn't done speaking his truth. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Justin Bieber Comes Clean In an Intense Instagram Post and Says He's “Been Struggling A Lot”," 11 Mar. 2019 The prince was honest and open about his own experience with fatherhood, and the complicated emotions that go along with it. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince William Describes "Fear of Having a Newborn" & Kate Middleton Says She Was a "Naive" Parent," 16 Feb. 2019 Though Paul Tyan's guitar music score is a little sappy, Aris otherwise impressively manages to keep his exploration of whether lies of this magnitude help save or destroy lives soberly honest and grounded. Boyd Van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Swing' ('Al Marjouha'): Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 12 July 2018 Tackling the difficult international policy issues of climate change requires honest and constructive discussion. Jonathan Sperling, Fortune, "Big Oil Scores Victory Against California Climate Change Lawsuit," 26 June 2018 With compassion and with love, and being honest, and being there for your child for all the right reasons. Alexis Jones, Marie Claire, "What Is Gypsy Rose Blanchard Doing Now? Hulu's 'The Act' Tells Her Story," 20 Mar. 2019 No one told me not to touch her things, but doing so feels illicit, and dressing up in her painting uniform, to be honest, feels a little too on the nose. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Searching for Myself in Alice Neel’s Radical Portraits," 26 Feb. 2019 In the House Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to gain control of the House, just to keep us honest here. Fox News, "President Trump's influence on crucial midterm elections," 29 Aug. 2018 Amanda Tanguay strives to tell honest stories when directing or acting. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Marriott Theatre's 'Pinkalicious:' Silly, but honest," 11 July 2018

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.

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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

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Statistics for honest

Last Updated

10 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for honest

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

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More Definitions for honest



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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on honest

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for honest

Spanish Central: Translation of honest

Nglish: Translation of honest for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of honest for Arabic Speakers

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).


an enemy or opponent

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