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 What has Mia Pearl taught you about honesty and truth? Bridgette Bartlett Royall, Essence, 10 Apr. 2024 Despite his honesty, this guy is getting zero sympathy. Hannah Van Sickle, Parents, 29 Mar. 2024 This willingness to own up to mistakes creates an atmosphere of honesty and accountability, which is essential for maintaining healthy interpersonal dynamics. Mark Travers, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 Instead, candidates are vetted through standards of integrity, honesty and a candid demeanor. Molly Peck, USA TODAY, 24 Mar. 2024 As humble as his characters may be—orphans, drug dealers, groundskeepers/part-time gym teachers—the language takes their concerns seriously, operatically, and with bracing honesty. Hazlitt, 20 Mar. 2024 The joy of water and the perspective offered by nature’s scale allow for more vulnerability and honesty during therapy. Nirpal Dhaliwal, Condé Nast Traveler, 18 Mar. 2024 Plus, Freeman imagines her daughter might find comfort in her mom’s honesty the same way so many women on TikTok did. Zoey Lyttle, Peoplemag, 18 Mar. 2024 Norman Mailer wrote with an unstable mixture of self-indulgence and self-awareness, bravado and diffidence, glibness and bracing honesty, macho posturing and an almost sheepish gentleness. Andrew Delbanco, The New York Review of Books, 28 Mar. 2024

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 20 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


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

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