Definition of honesty in English:

honesty

noun

mass noun
  • 1The quality of being honest.

    ‘they spoke with convincing honesty about their fears’
    ‘it was not, in all honesty, an auspicious debut’
    • ‘Particularly upsetting was the fact that our integrity and honesty was being called into question.’
    • ‘Every person has a responsibility to behave with integrity, honesty and fairness.’
    • ‘How do other companies deal with people who do not act with honesty and integrity?’
    • ‘But he will also be remembered as a man of integrity and honesty both on and off the pitch.’
    • ‘Keighley people recognise that the character and honesty of the man is beyond reproach.’
    • ‘It is much easier to win elections by preaching hate and fear than understanding and honesty.’
    • ‘Staff and colleagues expect a very high level of integrity and honesty in their leaders.’
    • ‘You get an openness and honesty amongst these people that you'd never see in bigger firms.’
    • ‘Brett looked down in surprise; in all honesty, he'd forgotten that she was there.’
    • ‘The consequence is that qualities such as honesty and integrity matter substantially more.’
    • ‘We also wish to make it clear that we have not at any stage questioned his openness or honesty as a serving officer.’
    • ‘Systematic and methodical rather than dashing, he had a reputation for honesty and directness.’
    • ‘Mr Bradshaw handed in references from a previous employer which spoke of her reliability and honesty.’
    • ‘We need to rebuild on the basis not of greed but truth, honesty, integrity.’
    • ‘He always seems to bring an amount of honesty to his characters that make them seem real and sincere.’
    • ‘Several recent books and a documentary have questioned his honesty and integrity.’
    • ‘Looking up at the large, unfriendly face, McBeath decided this was not the moment for honesty.’
    • ‘Sophie's honesty and frankness about her personal life and experiences is amazing.’
    • ‘Almost his first act as Prime Minister was to go to parliament and to address the nation with almost brutal honesty.’
    • ‘Moving eastwards, we come to Germany which, in all honesty, I know very little about.’
    moral correctness, uprightness, honourableness, honour, integrity, morals, morality, ethics, principle, principles, high principles, nobility, righteousness, rectitude, right-mindedness, upstandingness
    truthfulness, truth, sincerity, candour, frankness, directness, forthrightness, openness, straightforwardness, plainness, genuineness, bluntness, outspokenness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1British 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’
      • ‘I know the two words striking fear, at least into many departments at my company, are his honesty boxes, where these rates would have to be clearly labelled.’
      • ‘The bookshop where I bought my newspaper from had an " honesty box ".’
      • ‘You may also be interested in our honesty mark scheme.’
      • ‘They should just put out an honesty box and make lots of money.’
      • ‘The course is usually unmanned and collects its modest fees in an honesty box.’
      • ‘On the way was a trolley laden with plum jam, pickles and eggs; a selection went into the boot, a fiver into the honesty box.’
      • ‘Similar to the Austrian newspaper, the bagels were distributed to offices in the US capital with an honesty box payment system.’
      • ‘Officials said in two or three years the network will have been expanded throughout the city, further improving the city's honesty system.’
      • ‘At the moment, if you want a game you just turn up and post your 20 fee into an old Royal Mail box which serves as an honesty box.’
      • ‘King's experimental technique for selling The Plant on an honesty basis - fans can read the chapter before they cough up their $1-appears successful.’
      • ‘In 2006 they worked with a village of farmers in Toge, Japan to create a sculptural honesty box at a nearby beauty spot.’
      • ‘The honour system, with honesty boxes at each junction?’
      • ‘By the end of March 2004, a Summary Box (also referred to as an honesty box) containing standardised information will appear on credit card marketing literature.’
      • ‘I swear to god, half the rural economy of the English countryside is based on roadside honesty boxes.’
      • ‘First there was Radiohead's honesty box album with its track-stopping pay-what-you-please strategy.’
      • ‘Cold drinks and snacks are also available, payment for which should be placed in the honesty tray.’
      • ‘Every week the money collected in the honesty box was totted up.’
      • ‘When they are first reopened the toilets will operate with an attendant and an ' honesty box '.’
      • ‘Please give a donation for admission at the honesty box.’
      • ‘When he returned, Algie found more than $375 in an honesty box and notes from customers saying what they'd bought.’
  • 2A European plant with purple or white flowers and round, flat, translucent seed pods which are used for indoor flower arrangements.

    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • honesty is the best policy

    • proverb There are often practical as well as moral reasons for being honest.

      • ‘The trio agree honesty is the best policy and agree to leave the money where they found it, but an atmosphere of deceit and betrayal soon descends on the household.’
      • ‘But we'd decided early on that in all matters, honesty is the best policy.’
      • ‘Similarly, honesty is the best policy, but not if telling the truth inflicts unhappiness on others.’
      • ‘There is no doubt that honesty is the best policy.’
      • ‘I've thought about it, because I tend to believe that honesty is the best policy.’
      • ‘It promotes lying, legalises lying, and dissuades people from the simple policy that most educated people are brought up to accept - that is, that honesty is the best policy.’
      • ‘When filling out insurance forms, honesty is the best policy.’
      • ‘He needs to learn that honesty is the best policy.’
      • ‘Right now, as always, honesty is the best policy.’
      • ‘A reward scheme with a difference is being launched in North Yorkshire to show young people why honesty is the best policy.’
  • in all honesty

    • Speaking frankly.

      ‘in all honesty, most of the dialogue is laughable’
      • ‘In all honesty, it's a distinctly average film.’
      • ‘In all honesty, I did not recognize the house.’
      • ‘In all honesty, I'm not sure that he was worth any of the heartache.’
      • ‘In all honesty, we hadn't drunk much.’
      • ‘I mean in all honesty he isn't gonna know the difference.’
      • ‘Both teams in all honesty looked desperately tired.’

Origin

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.

Pronunciation

honesty

/ˈɒnɪsti/