Definition of dishonest in English:



  • 1Behaving or prone to behave in an untrustworthy or fraudulent way.

    ‘he was a dishonest hypocrite prepared to exploit his family’
    • ‘If a person pretends to be what he is not, he is usually accused of being dishonest or fraudulent.’
    • ‘It did not necessarily mean that any of the witnesses were being deliberately deceitful and dishonest.’
    • ‘While having a positive and happy disposition, you are so sensitive that you can feel when others are being dishonest or insincere.’
    • ‘This deeply dishonest way of putting things is crammed with doubtful assumptions.’
    • ‘Police say he was manipulative, dishonest, cunning and intimidating.’
    • ‘Anyone who was a little dishonest could have taken that mail.’
    • ‘If your bag is stolen and you happen to have a letter containing your address in it, a dishonest person could easily break in.’
    • ‘Losing honorably may signify lack of preparation but dishonest winning signifies lack of character.’
    • ‘People in the real world can be violent, greedy and dishonest.’
    • ‘I think it is dishonest to advertise their service as impartial.’
    • ‘As it is I am not a dishonest person, and I did not feel good about lying.’
    • ‘We must show our country that there is an alternative to this deceitful, dishonest, and discredited government.’
    • ‘She said she preferred being poor and honest than rich and dishonest.’
    • ‘I am not prepared to find that any of these witnesses was dishonest in the evidence that they gave.’
    • ‘Rarely has the true face of our bloodthirsty, dishonest and hypocritical rulers been revealed so clearly.’
    • ‘It might be very hurtful for parents to find that their daughter is dishonest.’
    • ‘A series of dishonest dealings ensues, and the ramifications extend well beyond the contest.’
    • ‘This does not make them unethical, dishonest people in life or their law practice.’
    • ‘You were attracted by the glamour of owning a football club but were prepared to use dishonest means to obtain that glamour.’
    • ‘So the next best strategy is to convince the electorate that all the other candidates are just as tawdry and dishonest.’
    fraudulent, corrupt, swindling, cheating, double-dealing
    underhand, crafty, cunning, devious, designing, treacherous, perfidious, unfair, unjust, disreputable, rascally, roguish, dirty, unethical, immoral, dishonourable, unscrupulous, unprincipled, amoral
    criminal, illegal, unlawful
    false, untruthful, deceitful, deceiving, deceptive, janus-faced, lying, mendacious, untrustworthy
    crooked, shady, tricky, sharp, shifty
    bent, dodgy
    knavish, subtle, hollow-hearted
    false-hearted, double-faced, truthless
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Intended to mislead or cheat.
      ‘he gave the editor a dishonest account of events’
      • ‘In cases of dishonest assistance the accountability of the third parties will not be confined to the profit which he has made.’
      • ‘But at the same time it would be dishonest not to admit that events added some character of sorts to the holiday.’
      • ‘If that is so, the imposition of the prohibition order is the most cynical and dishonest edict to come out of local government in my lifetime.’
      • ‘The various excuses and explanations he has given are transparently false and dishonest.’
      • ‘Is my use of the term in that sense misleading or dishonest?’


Late Middle English (in the sense dishonorable, unchaste): from Old French deshoneste, Latin dehonestus.