dis·​hon·​est (ˌ)dis-ˈä-nəst How to pronounce dishonest (audio)
 also  (ˌ)diz-
obsolete : shameful, unchaste
: characterized by lack of truth, honesty, or trustworthiness : unfair, deceptive
dishonestly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for dishonest

dishonest, deceitful, mendacious, untruthful mean unworthy of trust or belief.

dishonest implies a willful perversion of truth in order to deceive, cheat, or defraud.

a swindle usually involves two dishonest people

deceitful usually implies an intent to mislead and commonly suggests a false appearance or double-dealing.

the secret affairs of a deceitful spouse

mendacious may suggest bland or even harmlessly mischievous deceit and when used of people often suggests a habit of telling untruths.

mendacious tales of adventure

untruthful stresses a discrepancy between what is said and fact or reality.

an untruthful account of their actions

Example Sentences

She gave dishonest answers to our questions. I think he is being dishonest about how much he knows
Recent Examples on the Web The five officers were also added to an internal list of police officials across the county accused of being dishonest or facing criminal charges, a classification that could lead prosecutors to drop any cases involving their testimony. Emily Cochrane, New York Times, 9 Feb. 2023 The commission found that Bell was acting in his capacity as a union chief and that his criticisms were protected, rejecting the sheriff’s argument that Bell made dishonest statements and conducted himself in an unbecoming manner. Rafael Olmeda,, 15 June 2021 People began accusing her of fabricating stories, of being dishonest and biased, of abusing children and betraying the country. Taylor Lorenz, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2023 Instead, Santos remained cryptic and even more dishonest. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 12 Jan. 2023 Growing shares of both Republicans and Democrats say members of the other party are more immoral, dishonest and closed-minded than other Americans. NBC News, 1 Jan. 2023 Ads have cast both candidates as dishonest and too partisan for the swing district. oregonlive, 28 Oct. 2022 But these lawmakers’ accusation is disingenuous, dishonest and largely political. Jason D. Greenblatt, CNN, 9 Oct. 2022 Needless to say, being dishonest in a negotiation is very slippery slope. Kate Vitasek, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dishonest.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French deshoneste, from des- dis- + honeste honest

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dishonest was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near dishonest

Cite this Entry

“Dishonest.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


dis·​hon·​est (ˈ)dis-ˈän-əst How to pronounce dishonest (audio)
: not honest or trustworthy : deceitful
dishonest people
dishonestly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on dishonest

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