Definition of honest in English:

honest

adjective

  • 1Free of deceit and untruthfulness; sincere.

    ‘I haven't been totally honest with you’
    • ‘As a Republican, I sincerely thank you for your honest, open, sincere and thoughtful dialogue.’
    • ‘Answers are rarely forthcoming that can be said to be totally honest, sincere, and clearly unambiguous.’
    • ‘I could trot out the usual arguments about how free and honest debate ultimately makes a party stronger, but I'm not sure I believe them any more.’
    • ‘Unfortunately these two characters are unable to take it any further, they can't be intimate or truthful or completely honest and open about their lives.’
    • ‘We would like to thank all the students who gave us honest and sincere information on a broad range of issues in their lives.’
    • ‘They both are very direct men, they both are very honest and sincere men and they both are men who don't mince their words.’
    • ‘But one feels that the portrayal is honest and sincere (as Pasolini's were, for that matter).’
    • ‘Harley shrugged, but then decided to give her his honest, sincere reply.’
    • ‘Even unusually honest journalists are not free of faults.’
    • ‘Pedro Almodóvar said recently that he considers himself more honest and sincere and clear in his movies than he is in real life.’
    • ‘This book contains an emotionally riveting, devastatingly honest, and morally compelling answer.’
    • ‘He appeared so sincere, so honest, yet I couldn't hold any sympathy for him.’
    • ‘In general, focus group discussions consisted of honest, open and frank opinions of what the students thought about the class.’
    • ‘Remember, your compliments must be honest, sincere and genuine.’
    • ‘He encouraged a free press and honest debate in Parliament and welcomed nationwide participation in the political process.’
    • ‘For a transaction of this magnitude to be successful, all parties involved must be honest, sincere and truthful to one another.’
    • ‘Hornish also can rely on his father's experience and honest, straightforward opinions.’
    • ‘In his dealings with parents he was always approachable, sincere and honest.’
    • ‘As an independent organisation we offer the frank, robust and honest opinions of supporters.’
    • ‘Len tilted his head and looked at me, looking sincere and honest.’
    • ‘It is becoming hard to find genuinely honest and readable accounts of football.’
    truthful, sincere, candid, frank, direct, open, forthright, straight, straightforward, genuine, blunt, plain-spoken, plain-speaking, matter-of-fact, outspoken, as straight as a die, straight from the shoulder
    objective, impartial, unbiased, balanced, unprejudiced, disinterested, even-handed, fair, just, equitable
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Morally correct or virtuous.
      ‘I did the only right and honest thing’
      • ‘Poverty is by no means something to be looked down upon, especially when one is earning a living through honest labour.’
      • ‘What is forgotten in most of the talk about litter on our streets and indiscriminate dumping is that it is the law-abiding, honest and upright members of the community that have to pay to have it cleaned up.’
      • ‘There is nothing to be feared from honest, free, two-way trade.’
      • ‘You need to be educated, hard working and honest.’
      • ‘You're honest, reliable, trustworthy, intelligent, and very handsome as well.’
      • ‘He had a reputation of being ‘a reliable, honest and tactful official’.’
      • ‘Indeed those elections were neither fair nor honest; they were regimented and tightly controlled.’
      • ‘But, you also have been seen as ethical, trustworthy and honest.’
      • ‘Eschewing all the modern panoply of medical and technical assistance, Harrison believed in honest hard graft as his road to the top.’
      • ‘I believe that only a truly even-handed approach can lead to an honest, morally convincing, and effective human rights policy.’
      • ‘They often needed a greater amount of working capital to pay wages or purchase raw materials, which depended on a reputation for trustworthiness and honest dealing.’
      • ‘The vast majority of postal workers are decent, honest, law-abiding people.’
      • ‘However, if the person has shown himself to be reliable, trustworthy, and honest, you can be far more confident that he will keep his word.’
      • ‘Paddy was a peaceful, decent, law-abiding and honest citizen.’
      • ‘References attached to the form described him as ‘reliable, honest and trustworthy’.’
      • ‘The successful applicants must be experienced, honest, hard working, efficient and enthusiastic.’
      • ‘I wonder which is the more honest way to earn a living?’
      • ‘And why should a person doing an honest day's hard work have to stand in line after hours for a handout in order to eat or pay rent?’
      • ‘Candidates are generally good, honest, sincere people who want to make the world a better place.’
      • ‘All but four members of the commission said that the last election was fair and honest.’
      • ‘Those that know him can attest that he is reliable, trustworthy, and honest.’
      • ‘‘From the beginning we have been asking for fair and honest elections,’ he said.’
      • ‘Mick had a life of hard work and honest endeavour.’
      • ‘There are many thousands of good, decent, honest, unemployed people who are law-abiding and that never ever broke the law in their lives.’
      • ‘He was decent, honest, trustworthy, and quite handsome.’
      morally correct, upright, honourable, moral, ethical, principled, righteous, right-minded, respectable
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    2. 1.2attributive Fairly earned, especially through hard work.
      ‘struggling to make an honest living’
      • ‘Kelly later claimed that he was constantly provoked by the police and prevented from earning an honest living.’
      • ‘Like many other Sikh Americans, Amric Singh, wants to earn an honest living while helping his surrounding community.’
      • ‘For anyone who stakes his pride on earning an honest day's pay, this economic fall is, unsurprisingly enough, hard to bear.’
      • ‘Workers, often women, take risks to earn an honest living.’
      • ‘Big oil is not to blame if governments and insurgents refuse to put down the guns and start earning an honest wage.’
      • ‘You can tolerate the hawkers for trying to earn an honest living.’
      • ‘She was always under the delusion that Edward was earning an honest living in London, and I never had the heart to tell her the truth.’
      • ‘He'll just have to earn an honest living when he grows up.’
      • ‘Basil's percussion playing is almost a permanent fixture in the mall and he sticks to his task of earning an honest dollar with zeal.’
      • ‘These are innocent people just trying to earn an honest living, but who end up the real victims.’
      • ‘They are struggling to earn an honest living in this capital, the same as the rest of us.’
      • ‘We are trying to earn an honest dollar.’
      • ‘All the refugees on the project's books have one thing in common - a desire to get a job and earn an honest living.’
      • ‘During this period he is urged to earn an honest living and follow righteousness.’
      • ‘Guru Nanak also taught his Sikhs the great value of earning an honest living.’
      • ‘It is about the inability of the poor people in such situations of social instability and violence to earn an honest day's wage and thus going to bed hungry.’
      • ‘It's a perfect example of how conservative elites are out of touch with the reality of people who do earn an honest living.’
      • ‘Practitioners lead normal family lives, work hard for honest pay and aim to behave as good people in all situations and circumstances.’
      • ‘On this walk I did see moving examples of small-scale entrepreneurs trying to earn an honest living.’
      • ‘And the woman draws herself up and delivers a stirring dialogue on her right to stay there and earn an honest living.’
    3. 1.3 (of an action) blameless or well intentioned even if unsuccessful or misguided.
      ‘he'd made an honest mistake’
      • ‘The idea that this was an honest mistake, as he now claims, is ridiculous.’
      • ‘Sure, it might startle you a bit - it's not something you might have expected - but there's no point in getting your back up over something which is an honest mistake.’
      • ‘Bob's position was an honest attempt to achieve something real.’
      • ‘The forums were honest, objective attempts to address the facts, and they have succeeded beyond our expectations.’
      • ‘But at least it had the benefit of honest if misguided passion.’
      • ‘However, as Justice Young's judgement makes clear, there was much worse than an honest mistake involved in the police decision to search my house.’
      • ‘The Progressive Democrat leader said the proposal was a fair and honest attempt to deal with the issue and she was disappointed it did not receive a broad consensus of support.’
      • ‘For that reason, I do not believe this was an honest mistake.’
      • ‘My flirtation with him was an honest mistake.’
      • ‘It's an honest mistake and an assumption we've all made I'm sure.’
      • ‘Unlike my colleagues, I think this was an honest mistake.’
      • ‘In most circumstances, they are honest mistakes made by writers and editors under the pressures of strict deadlines and unrelenting workloads.’
      • ‘‘The report imposed on the BBC a punishment far out of proportion to its or my mistakes, which were honest ones,’ he said.’
      • ‘Doesn't this show that it might just be an honest mistake?’
      • ‘Defending, Andrew Stranex suggested that the 13-year-old boy had made an honest mistake over the robber's identity.’
      • ‘I think it was an honest and reasonable mistake for them to make at the time.’
      • ‘I knew at the time that it could not have been an honest mistake but at Shirley's trial that was not the issue.’
      • ‘The play explores children's honest if naive attempts to reconcile conflicts between rules of peer friendship and the expectations of parents.’
      • ‘It's one thing to cheat and one thing to make an honest mistake, especially when everybody watching on TV knew that they had mixed up their score cards.’
      • ‘He described the episode last summer as ‘an honest mistake.’’
      genuine, real, authentic, actual, true
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    4. 1.4attributive Simple, unpretentious, and unsophisticated.
      ‘good honest food with no gimmicks’
      • ‘It is an honest, simple pie, and we extol its simplicities.’
      • ‘It is a simple, delicate, honest piece of work that strikes so many chords it could almost be music itself.’
      • ‘It's an honest, decent and unpretentious golf course.’
      • ‘I love to eat as much as the next guy, but I also love simplicity - honest food that nourishes, that lets ingredients speak for themselves.’
      • ‘I think his food got a bit poncey at one point but now, at his new place, he is doing my style of food - real honest food at good prices.’
      • ‘In all the nostalgic celebrations, the impression is inevitably created that blues is some kind of touchstone for a simpler and more honest past: feel-good music for white people.’
      • ‘One longs for simpler, more honest fare - something she appears quite capable of producing.’
      • ‘I'm partial to having fish filleted before me, but a good, simple, honest pan of crêpes Suzette is tough to beat.’
      • ‘That, though, was the only real grumble with a meal which may not win many culinary awards, but which represents good, honest weekday food served in a bustling yet relaxed environment.’
      • ‘Central to this lifestyle is authentic and honest food and wine.’
      • ‘It is a humble but honest place, with food more hearty than fancy, and prices appealing to mere mortals and theatrical luminaries alike.’
      • ‘It proves that the best food is honest food, made to uncomplicated recipes using the best ingredients.’
      plain, unadorned, undecorated, unembellished, unornamented, without ornament, without ornamentation, unelaborate, unpretentious, unostentatious, unfussy, no-nonsense, basic, modest, unsophisticated, penny plain, without frills, homely, homespun, everyday, workaday
      View synonyms

adverb

informal
  • sentence adverb Used to persuade someone of the truth of something.

    ‘you'll like it when you get there, honest’
    • ‘I've been neglecting my journal but I'm determined to try harder, honest.’

Phrases

  • make an honest woman of

    • humorous, dated Marry a woman, especially to avoid scandal if she is pregnant.

      • ‘A source close to the couple recently revealed: ‘David's really keen to make an honest woman of Catherine - they've never talked about their relationship in public but they definitely see a long future together.’’
      • ‘Well, I think he should make an honest woman of her.’
      • ‘The only thing to be done now is to make an honest woman of this dear lady.’
      • ‘We've discussed this for ages, but, now, finally, Robert is going to make an honest woman of me!’
      • ‘Paula and Peter grew inseparable, and courted for years, before Peter finally made an honest woman of her.’
      • ‘Have you been putting off making an honest woman of your partner?’
      • ‘When asked why he'd taken so long to make an honest woman of his girlfriend, Ron joked that he ‘hadn't had enough time to ask her.’’
      • ‘I hear you're making an honest woman of my sister.’
      • ‘I'll just say Freddie has finally made an honest woman of Sally.’
      • ‘Alex is attempting to make an honest woman out of me.’
      • ‘He said it was time he made an honest woman of Joanna.’
      be married to, get married to, marry, be wed to, take as one's husband, take as one's wife, lead to the altar
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  • to be honest

    • Speaking frankly.

      ‘I've never been much of a movie buff, to be honest’
      • ‘It's about an hour after the game and I'm still in a state of shock, to be honest.’
      • ‘It could've been a lot better, to be honest, but it was easily the most interesting thing on the box.’
      • ‘I could do with saving the money that I would have spent on the train fare, to be honest.’
      • ‘It was always good fun and, to be honest, felt more like a party game than anything difficult.’
      • ‘I never really thought it would happen and, to be honest, I still don't think it will.’
      • ‘I'd never been in one before, and to be honest, I didn't have a clue what you were meant to do.’
      • ‘To be honest, it was hard for me to understand why people wanted me to hold the exhibition.’
      • ‘I was not on my best form and, to be honest, all that really interested me was the prospect of food.’
      • ‘We all had big plans but, to be honest, how many people know what they want to be when they are 15?’
      • ‘To say I broke my foot playing football is, to be honest, stretching the truth somewhat.’
      • ‘Now I notice that every other car in the car park is silver and, to be honest, I hate the colour.’
      • ‘‘To be honest I had forgotten all about it,’ said Mr Pedley.’
      • ‘‘To be honest it was all just about money,’ he said.’
      • ‘I get involved in spite of myself and, to be honest, I wouldn't have it any other way.’
      truthfully, really, truly, actually, to be honest, to tell you the truth, to be frank, speaking truthfully, speaking frankly, in all honesty, in all sincerity, in plain language, in plain english
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Origin

Middle English (originally in the sense ‘held in or deserving of honor’): via Old French from Latin honestus, from honos (see honor).

Pronunciation

honest

/ˈänəst//ˈɑnəst/