Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Marked by or displaying integrity; upright.
  • adjective Not deceptive or fraudulent; genuine.
  • adjective Equitable; fair.
  • adjective Characterized by truth; not false.
  • adjective Sincere; frank.
  • adjective Of good repute; respectable.
  • adjective Without affectation; plain.
  • adjective Virtuous; chaste.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To do honor to; grace; adorn.
  • Having a sense of honor; having honorable feelings, motives, or principles; free from deceit or hypocrisy; true, candid, upright, or just in speech and action; fair in dealing, or sincere in utterance; worthy to be trusted.
  • Specifically— Having the virtue of chastity; chaste; virtuous: said of a woman.
  • Having no disposition to cheat, steal, or lie.
  • Characterized by or proceeding from honorable motives or principles; marked by truth, justice, sincerity, fairness, etc.: as, an honest transaction; honest opinions or motives; an honest effort.
  • Of honorable quality; creditable; reputable; proper; becoming: as, a man of honest report.
  • Excellent in quality; good.
  • Of honorable appearance; fair-seeming; having the semblance of truthfulness, fairness, etc.
  • Open; undisguised; boldly or frankly showing purpose, character, or quality, whether good or bad: as, the honest pursuit of pleasure or gain; an honest rogue.
  • Synonyms and Conscientious, trust-worthy, trusty, frank.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Decent; honorable; suitable; becoming.
  • adjective Characterized by integrity or fairness and straightforwardness in conduct, thought, speech, etc.; upright; just; equitable; trustworthy; truthful; sincere; free from fraud, guile, or duplicity; not false; -- said of persons and acts, and of things to which a moral quality is imputed
  • adjective Open; frank.
  • adjective Chaste; faithful; virtuous.
  • transitive verb obsolete To adorn; to grace; to honor; to make becoming, appropriate, or honorable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective of a person or institution Scrupulous with regard to telling the truth; not given to swindling, lying, or fraud; upright.
  • adjective of a statement True, especially as far as is known by the person making the statement; fair; unbiased.
  • adjective In good faith; without malice.
  • adjective of a measurement device Accurate.
  • adjective Authentic; full.
  • adjective Earned or acquired in a fair manner.
  • verb obsolete To adorn or grace; to honour; to make becoming, appropriate, or honourable.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective without dissimulation; frank
  • adjective not forged
  • adjective gained or earned without cheating or stealing
  • adjective not disposed to cheat or defraud; not deceptive or fraudulent
  • adjective worthy of being depended on
  • adjective without pretensions
  • adjective marked by truth

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French honeste, from Latin honestus, honorable, from honor, honor (earlier honōs).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French honeste, from Latin honestus, from honor. For the verb, see Latin honestare to clothe or adorn with honour, and compare French honester.

Examples

  • ’ My conscience says, ‘No; take heed, honest Launcelot; take heed, honest Gobbo; ’ or, as aforesaid, ‘honest Launcelot Gobbo; do not run; scorn running with thy heels.

    Act II. Scene II. The Merchant of Venice

  • When you're dealin 'with an honest event -- _honest_, mind you -- as goes on year after year between two parties both ekally set on winnin', the only way to get real satisfaction is to pick your fancy an 'go on backin' it.

    Hocken and Hunken

  • "There are several men that I _believe_ to be honest," returned the owner of the bungalow, "yet only one that I know to be _honest_, and who possesses at the same time the judgment to undertake a mission like the one I have been telling you about."

    The Motor Boat Club and The Wireless Or, the Dot, Dash and Dare Cruise

  • Not only would they all stay here, but they would become honest -- these hardened rogues, who a few weeks before were wont to use the words _honest_ and _stupid_ as synonyms.

    Freeland A Social Anticipation

  • _very_ honest, or _exceedingly_ just, for the words _honest_ and _just_, literally admit of no comparison.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

  • You'd rather see me drudging all the best moments of my life away, so you can lounge around Ju Penrose's saloon spending dollars you've no right to, than risk your peace of mind on an honest -- yes, _honest_ -- transaction that's going to give me a little of the comfort that you haven't the grit to help me to yourself. "

    The Forfeit

  • Secondly, any lasting peace is going to have to be a peace that's good for both sides, and, therefore, the term honest broker makes sense.

    CNN Transcript - Special Event: Bush and Gore Face off in a Kinder, Gentler Debate - October 11, 2000

  • The term honest wealth, which was creeping into respectable periodicals, was exceedingly annoying to him.

    A Certain Rich Man

  • Although not given to blushing, Dick felt that he coloured under his dye at the praise; for although they had certainly sold cheaply, he doubted whether the term honest could be fairly applied to the whole transaction.

    The Tiger of Mysore A Story of the War with Tippoo Saib

  • A Fox News appearance that Michael Steele made on January 4th where he has used the term honest Injun to back up his remarks on conservative principles and a lot of Native Americans didn't like him using those words.

    NPR Topics: News

Comments

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  • 'I am not naturally honest, but sometimes I am so by chance.' -William Shakespeare

    February 19, 2008

  • As in, 'Brutally Honest'... See also: lame, excuse, braggado.

    July 21, 2008