From Middle English honeste (“honour, integrity”), from Old French honesté (compare modern French honnêteté) (honest + -y); the plant, from the visibility of the seeds through the translucent pods. Displaced native Old English sōþfæstnes.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɒnəsti/, /ˈɒnəstɪ/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɑːnəsti/
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honesty (countable and uncountable, plural honesties)
- (uncountable, countable) The act, quality, or condition of being honest.
- academic / artistic / emotional / intellectual honesty
- brutal / devastating / searing honesty
- c. 1591–1595 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
- There’s no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.
- 1787, George Colman, Junior, Inkle and Yarico, London: G.G.J. & J. Robinson, Act 2, p. 45,
- O give me your plain dealing Fellows
- Who never from honesty shrink;
- Not thinking on all they shou’d tell us,
- But telling us all that they think.
- 1891, Oscar Wilde, The Duchess of Padua:
- 1965, George Steiner, “Dying is an Art”, in Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature and the Inhuman, New York: Atheneum, published 1986, page 295:
- To those who knew her and to the greatly enlarged circle who were electrified by her last poems and sudden death, she had come to signify the specific honesties and risks of the poet’s condition.
- (uncountable, countable, obsolete) Honor; decency, propriety.
- c. 1601–1602 (date written), William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or What You Will”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene iii]:
- Have ye no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night?
- 1607, [Barnabe Barnes], The Divils Charter: A Tragædie Conteining the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the Sixt. […], London: Printed by G[eorge] E[ld] for Iohn Wright, […], →OCLC, Act V, scene i:
- Fellowes in armes faithfull and valiant, / I thanke you for your paines and honeſties, [...]
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, 1 Timothy 2:2:
- [...] that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
- (uncountable, countable, obsolete) Chastity.
- c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merry Wiues of Windsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene ii]:
- [...] spend all I have; only give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this Ford’s wife [...]
- c. 1625, John Fletcher, The Fair Maid of the Inn, Act V, Scene 1, in Alexander Dyce (editor), The Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, New York: Appleton, 1890, Volume 2, p. 669,
- [...] Oh, these vild women,
- That are so ill preservers of men’s honours,
- They cannot govern their own honesties!
- (countable) Any of various crucifers in the genus Lunaria, several of which are grown as ornamentals, particularly Lunaria annua.
quality of being honest
- “honesty”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- Alternative form of honeste (“honour”)