Definition of honesty in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈɒnɪsti/


[mass noun]
1The quality of being honest: they spoke with convincing honesty about their fears it was not, in all honesty, an auspicious debut
More example sentences
  • The consequence is that qualities such as honesty and integrity matter substantially more.
  • We need to rebuild on the basis not of greed but truth, honesty, integrity.
  • It is much easier to win elections by preaching hate and fear than understanding and honesty.
moral correctness, uprightness, honourableness, honour, integrity, morals, morality, ethics, principle, (high) principles, nobility, righteousness, rectitude, right-mindedness, upstandingness;
virtue, goodness, probity, worthiness, high-mindedness, justness, fairness, incorruptibility, truthfulness, truth, veracity, trustworthiness, reliability, conscientiousness, scrupulousness, reputability, dependability, loyalty, faithfulness, fidelity
truthfulness, truth, sincerity, candour, frankness, directness, forthrightness, openness, straightforwardness, plainness, genuineness, bluntness, outspokenness
1.1chiefly British Referring to or using a way of charging for goods or services that relies on the customers to leave money in an unattended receptacle even though there is no one to collect their payments: I bought potatoes and tomatoes from the roadside stall, putting £3 in the honesty box there’s a well-stocked honesty bar which includes local wine
More example sentences
  • The bookshop where I bought my newspaper from had an " honesty box ".
  • Similar to the Austrian newspaper, the bagels were distributed to offices in the US capital with an honesty box payment system.
  • You may also be interested in our honesty mark scheme.
2A European plant with purple or white flowers and round, flat, translucent seed pods which are used for indoor flower arrangements.
  • Genus Lunaria, family Cruciferae.
Example sentences
  • Honesty flowers early in the year and provides nectar for early butterflies such as the orange tip.
  • Common honesty is grown partly for its fragrant bright flowers in spring and early summer, but also for its unique oval and translucent seed-heads, much coveted by dried-flower arrangers.



honesty is the best policy

proverb There are often practical as well as moral reasons for being honest.
Example sentences
  • A reward scheme with a difference is being launched in North Yorkshire to show young people why honesty is the best policy.
  • There is no doubt that honesty is the best policy.
  • He needs to learn that honesty is the best policy.

in all honesty

Speaking frankly: in all honesty, most of the dialogue is laughable
More example sentences
  • In all honesty, I'm not sure that he was worth any of the heartache.
  • In all honesty, I did not recognize the house.
  • In all honesty, it's a distinctly average film.


Middle English: from Old French honeste, from Latin honestas, from honestus (see honest). The original sense was 'honour, respectability', later 'decorum, virtue, chastity'. The plant is so named from its seed pods, translucency symbolizing lack of deceit.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hon|esty

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