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 These lasting friendships are fed by reciprocal effort, by tolerance, by radical honesty. Carola Lovering, Vogue, 5 Feb. 2024 Goldstein’s visceral arrival to her crucible pays off with a calming honesty. David John Chávez, The Mercury News, 30 Jan. 2024 Her honesty, strength, discipline, commitment to excellence, and more than that, her loyalty to this community, to her friends, her students and dancers is without peer. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Jan. 2024 This is the ethos: curiosity, honesty, experiment, failure, ambition, fellowship — and a break for cheap (and perhaps illegally sold) beer. Sara Holdren, Vulture, 11 Jan. 2024 Artists value honesty and accountability over stonewalling and evasiveness about whether AI tools are being used. Jess Weatherbed, The Verge, 9 Jan. 2024 But Tanya heard a joy and honesty in his voice that instantly drew her to him. Nancy Kruh, Peoplemag, 26 Jan. 2024 If anything, the Forty Part Motet, which runs through Monday, Jan. 18, brought back all the power and honesty of the naked, unassuming human voice. Jack Chang, Sacramento Bee, 25 Jan. 2024 The ideals of dignity, morality, and honesty are what keep us invested in stories told in popular culture. Christian Schneider, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 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 24 Feb. 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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