hon·​es·​ty ˈä-nə-stē How to pronounce honesty (audio)
plural honesties
: adherence to the facts : sincerity
doubted the honesty of the witness
: fairness and straightforwardness of conduct
calling for honesty in politics
: any of a genus (Lunaria) of European and southwest Asian plants of the mustard family that have toothed hairy leaves, small white or violet flowers, and flat silvery seedpods that are siliques
especially : a European biennial (Lunaria annua) that is often grown for its ornamental disk-shaped seedpods : money plant sense 1
obsolete : chastity
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.
Recent Examples on the Web Sharon and Ozzy have endured a lot over the years but have also maintained a refreshing honesty about their highs and lows. Stephanie Kaloi, Peoplemag, 26 Sep. 2023 The self-pity in their music is run-of-the-mill, but the exhilaration and desolation and honesty and we’re-coming-out exuberance—that part’s unique. Rob Sheffield, Rolling Stone, 25 Sep. 2023 Research has found that the public is happy to share data with commercial organizations if the relationship is built on honesty and transparency, and has a clear public benefit. WIRED, 21 Sep. 2023 All of us were drawn to the authenticity of the script and its honesty and rawness. Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Sep. 2023 In all honesty, taking safety measures when using delta 8 is crucial to prevent any potential harm. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 6 Sep. 2023 No matter the production style or vocal delivery of each song, though, Humberstone’s brash honesty puts her in the same class of current stellar songwriters like fellow emerging artist Gracie Abrams and even her idol, Phoebe Bridgers. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, 28 Aug. 2023 Canet is unexpectedly affecting as Mathieu’s debonair charm, for so long his stock-in-trade, suddenly seems inadequate in the face of Alice’s honesty, just as his career insecurities feel trivial. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Sep. 2023 But the next day, family members contacted police with doubts about the boy’s honesty. Michael Lee Simpson, Peoplemag, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'honesty.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English honeste, honestie "honorable position, good name, propriety of behavior, moral purity, chastity," borrowed from Anglo-French honesté, borrowed from Latin honestāt-, honestās "honorableness, moral rectitude, decency," by haplology from *honestitāt-, *honestitās, from honestus "of good repute, morally worthy" + -itāt-, -itās -ity; (sense 2) probably so called from the translucence of the siliques — more at honest entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of honesty was in the 15th century

Cite this Entry

“Honesty.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honesty. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


hon·​es·​ty ˈän-ə-stē How to pronounce honesty (audio)
: the quality or state of being honest

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