hon·​es·​ty | \ ˈä-nə-stē How to pronounce honesty (audio) \
plural honesties

Definition of honesty

1a : adherence to the facts : sincerity doubted the honesty of the witness
b : fairness and straightforwardness of conduct calling for honesty in politics
2 : any of a genus (Lunaria) of European herbs of the mustard family with toothed leaves and flat disk-shaped siliques
3 obsolete : chastity

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Choose the Right Synonym for honesty

honesty, honor, integrity, probity mean uprightness of character or action. honesty implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive in any way. honor suggests an active or anxious regard for the standards of one's profession, calling, or position. integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility, or pledge. probity implies tried and proven honesty or integrity.

Examples of honesty in a Sentence

She is admired for her kindness and her honesty. He demands honesty from everyone who works for him. He didn't even have enough honesty to tell me he was leaving.
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Recent Examples on the Web One front-page deception about Vice President Kamala Harris and one Republican party official's hypocrisy about the importance of honesty. Brian Stelter, CNN, "All of this week's news stories have something ugly in common: Lying," 27 Apr. 2021 But Kossakovsky just lets this world be, which feels like an act of radical honesty. Bilge Ebiri, Vulture, "Here’s a Movie About a Pig That Might Change Your Life," 22 Apr. 2021 There’s a great sense of honesty and an element of love on screen amongst those guys. Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times, "Mads Mikkelsen and Thomas Vinterberg on the bittersweet ‘Another Round’ and alcohol boot camp," 20 Apr. 2021 Overly conscientious to the point of unconscious honesty, Petrie is burning with pain and curiosity. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, "The Struggle and the Scramble," 16 Mar. 2021 Biden also added a caveat that provided the necessary burst of honesty. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Joe Biden’s Confident, Unconventional Politics," 11 Mar. 2021 This approach requires a perhaps uncomfortable amount of honesty with yourself and with your employees. Yec, Forbes, "If You Really Value Someone Let Them Grow," 11 Mar. 2021 On a horrible milestone; the effects of ‘wokeness’; Communist-style rhetoric from the Right; the gift of honesty in writing; and more At this juncture, half a million Americans have died of COVID. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "The COVID toll, &c.," 24 Feb. 2021 Don’t reserve honesty to your self-reflection periods. John O'grady, Forbes, "How To Work On Yourself As A Leader To Build A Culturally Flat Organization," 15 Apr. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for honesty

see honest entry 1

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Learn More about honesty

Time Traveler for honesty

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for honesty

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Honesty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honesty. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for honesty



English Language Learners Definition of honesty

: the quality of being fair and truthful : the quality of being honest


hon·​es·​ty | \ ˈä-nə-stē How to pronounce honesty (audio) \

Kids Definition of honesty

: the quality or state of being truthful and fair

Comments on honesty

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