Definition of honest in English:


Line breaks: hon¦est
Pronunciation: /ˈɒnɪst



informal Back to top  
  • Used to persuade someone of the truth of something: you’ll like it when you get there, honest
    More example sentences
    • I've been neglecting my journal but I'm determined to try harder, honest.


earn (or turn) an honest penny

Earn money fairly.
More example sentences
  • In his early years he also sold a variety of articles like accordions, concertinas and mouth-organs, costume accessories and polish - anything indeed which would turn an honest penny.
  • They are a prime example, having never earned an honest penny in their miserable lives.
  • The only offer he got was from a fellow-lodger, a young man who earned an honest penny by playing a tin whistle on the streets.

make an honest woman of

dated or • humorous Marry a woman, especially to avoid scandal if she is pregnant.
[honest here originally meant 'respectable', but was probably associated with the archaic sense 'chaste']
More example sentences
  • I hear you're making an honest woman of my sister.
  • Have you been putting off making an honest woman of your partner?
  • A source close to the couple recently revealed: ‘David's really keen to make an honest woman of Catherine - they've never talked about their relationship in public but they definitely see a long future together.’

to be honest

Speaking frankly: to be honest, I expected to play worse
More example sentences
  • I never really thought it would happen and, to be honest, I still don't think it will.
  • It's about an hour after the game and I'm still in a state of shock, to be honest.
  • To say I broke my foot playing football is, to be honest, stretching the truth somewhat.


Middle English (originally in the sense 'held in or deserving of honour'): via Old French from Latin honestus, from honos (see honour).

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