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From Middle English honest, honeste, from Old French honeste, from Latin honestus, from honor. For the verb, see Latin honestāre (to clothe or adorn with honour), and compare French honester.



honest (comparative honester or more honest, superlative honestest or most honest)

  1. (of a person or institution) Scrupulous with regard to telling the truth; not given to swindling, lying, or fraud; upright.
    We’re the most honest people you will ever come across.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Sir W. Temple
      An honest physician leaves his patient when he can contribute no farther to his health.
  2. (of a statement) True, especially as far as is known by the person making the statement; fair; unbiased.
    an honest account of events
    honest reporting
  3. In good faith; without malice.
    an honest mistake
  4. (of a measurement device) Accurate.
    an honest scale
  5. Authentic; full.
    an honest day’s work
  6. Earned or acquired in a fair manner.
    an honest dollar
  7. Open; frank.
    an honest countenance
  8. (obsolete) Decent; honourable; suitable; becoming.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Behold what honest clothes you send forth to bleaching!
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Chaucer to this entry?)
  9. (obsolete) Chaste; faithful; virtuous.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Shakespeare
      Wives may be merry, and yet honest too.



Derived termsEdit



honest (third-person singular simple present honests, present participle honesting, simple past and past participle honested)

  1. (obsolete) To adorn or grace; to honour; to make becoming, appropriate, or honourable.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Archbishop Sandys to this entry?)
    • (Can we date this quote?) Ben Jonson
      You have very much honested my lodging with your presence.


honest (comparative more honest, superlative most honest)

  1. (colloquial) Honestly; really.
    It wasn’t my fault, honest.

Further readingEdit