hon·​est·​ly | \ ˈä-nəst-lē How to pronounce honestly (audio) \

Definition of honestly

1 : in an honest manner: such as
a : without cheating counted the ballots honestly
b : really, genuinely was honestly scared
c : without frills food honestly prepared
2 : to be honest : to tell the truth honestly, I don't know

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of honestly in a Sentence

Officials counted the votes honestly. The bank has always dealt honestly with me. I can honestly say that I have never seen that man before today. He spoke honestly about the mistakes he had made. She honestly believes that she has been mistreated.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

My favorite part of the look actually happened before the Met Gala carpet, when Musgraves showed up in a hot pink convertible made for Barbie (or, honestly, Elle Woods from Legally Blonde). Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "Kacey Musgraves Literally Dressed Like a Barbie Doll for the Met Gala 2019," 7 May 2019 The person you’re talking to is either playing head games, honestly forgetful, or trying to send a message. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "The Etiquette Secrets of Proper Texting," 30 Apr. 2019 Naturally, a surprised Andy flipped out over this new info (honestly, same). Blair Donovan, Country Living, "Maren Morris Was Actually Rejected From 'The Voice' and 'American Idol'," 23 Mar. 2019 Here are the 14 best memes from Oscars night that, honestly, deserve awards of their own. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "14 Oscar Memes That Deserve Their Own Award," 25 Feb. 2019 Feeling like this right about now: Then again, all three theories could be simultaneously correct ... who knows, honestly. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here's What Franco Harris Might Have to Do With "This Is Us'," 26 Sep. 2018 On the impact the weather had on the game: The conditions weren’t bad, honestly. Jonathan Tannenwald, Philly.com, "Doug Pederson calls Eagles' win over 49ers 'pretty impressive'," 6 July 2018 Or should the goal be to achieve an aesthetic difference between an original and an expansion, honestly expressing the fact that they were built in different eras and, perhaps, with different technologies? Blair Kamin, chicagotribune.com, "We're only stuck with the lousy Union Station design if we fail to rethink it. Let the debate begin.," 27 June 2018 And honestly, could Kensi (Daniela Ruah) and Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) be any cuter!? Megan Stein, Country Living, "The 'NCIS: Los Angeles' Team Is Getting a Surprise Visit From This Special Agent," 9 Dec. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'honestly.' 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 honestly

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about honestly

Statistics for honestly

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for honestly

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for honestly



English Language Learners Definition of honestly

: without cheating or lying : in an honest way
: in a genuine way : without pretending
used to stress that a statement is true


hon·​est·​ly | \ ˈä-nəst-lē How to pronounce honestly (audio) \

Kids Definition of honestly

1 : without cheating or lying : in an honest manner They made their money honestly.
2 : in a real and sincere way She was honestly scared.
3 used to stress the truth or sincerity of what is being said Honestly, I don't know how you do it.
4 used to show annoyance or disapproval Is that your excuse? Honestly!

More from Merriam-Webster on honestly

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for honestly

Britannica English: Translation of honestly for Arabic Speakers

Comments on honestly

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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