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 reason that's striking is because that's always the most honest emotion. Rachel Epstein, Marie Claire, "A Body Language Expert Analyzes Meghan and Harry's Royal Baby Photo-Call," 8 May 2019 The most inadvertently honest reaction to Attorney General William Barr’s congressional testimony this week came from former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Kimberley A. Strassel, WSJ, "Barr Brings Accountability," 11 Apr. 2019 The goal for me is always to create the most honest thing possible. Henry Youtt, Billboard, "Justin Tranter Talks Artistry & Activism Ahead of Gun Violence Concert: 'Everything Should Be Intersectional'," 11 July 2018 Read on for our honest reviews of the best Maybelline mascaras. Glamour, "We Tried Every Mascara From Maybelline, and These Are Our Favorites," 13 May 2019 After many flirtatious moments and bouts of jealousy, Eddie was ready to be honest. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "'Blue Bloods' Couple Jamie Reagan and Eddie Janko Have Had Such a Dramatic Relationship," 27 Apr. 2019 Responses to the show were mixed, with some appreciating its honest take on a deeply personal topic. Megan Stein, Country Living, "'A Million Little Things' Premiered Last Night and Fans Have a Lot of Thoughts," 27 Sep. 2018 Anybody dedicated enough—or crazy enough—to wake up before the sunrise to watch baseball’s season-opener in Japan on Wednesday will witness something rarely seen in the sport’s history: an honest-to-goodness middle-aged man on the field. Jared Diamond, WSJ, "Ichiro Suzuki Gets a Final Bow in Tokyo," 19 Mar. 2019 Over the last few years, Ford has tried to position itself as an honest-to-god competitor to Silicon Valley upstarts like Google and Tesla by investing in self-driving cars as well as mobility ventures like car-sharing and private transit. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Ford adds electric scooter startup to its growing mobility collection," 8 Nov. 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

5 Jun 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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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