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

Antonyms: Adjective

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Colorado State must put together a better effort running the ball to keep Boise State’s pass rush honest. Chris Wassel, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Boise State at Colorado State odds, picks and best bets," 29 Nov. 2019 To be honest, some days were exciting and some days were dreadful. Itika Sharma Punit, Quartz India, "MobiKwik, one of India’s leading fintech firms, would rather be a cockroach than unicorn," 25 Nov. 2019 The greater concern here isn't whether the White House medical team is being honest with the public. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, "The mystery of President Trump's unannounced hospital visit," 24 Nov. 2019 The biowarfare resistance touted in the Model X SUV was weird enough—though probably more useful in some cases—but this is a pretty dystopian flex, to be honest. Eric Adams, Popular Mechanics, "9 Things You Need To Know About Tesla's Incredibly Weird and Possibly Genius Cybertruck," 22 Nov. 2019 The Gambian government will be more honest about its migration dealings with the EU if the agreements are fair and practical. Franzisca Zanker, Quartz Africa, "The return of migrants from Europe is causing problems for The Gambia," 21 Nov. 2019 Be honest with yourself about what to expect, but try to stay positive too. Anna Borges, SELF, "9 Super Helpful Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health While Traveling," 25 Oct. 2019 News outlets have a responsibility to be honest with their readers. A. G. Hamilton, National Review, "Bloomberg Law Owes Readers an Explanation of Its Attempt to Smear Leif Olson," 4 Oct. 2019 Selling by the bed, to be honest, was a huge challenge. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "Innovators: Generator's Alastair Thomann On How Hostels Are Growing Up," 30 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for honest

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for honest

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Honest.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honest. Accessed 12 December 2019.

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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.

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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).


a period of high artistic development

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