Origin of honest

1250–1300; Middle English honeste < Middle French < Latin honestus honorable, equivalent to hones- (variant stem of honōs) honor + -tus adj. suffix
Related formshon·est·ness, nouno·ver·hon·est, adjectiveo·ver·hon·est·ly, adverbo·ver·hon·est·ness, nounqua·si-hon·est, adjectivequa·si-hon·est·ly, adverb

Synonyms for honest

Antonyms for honest

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for honest

Contemporary Examples of honest

Historical Examples of honest

  • The man was so open and honest that his arguments had nothing underhand or crafty in them.

    The Grey Lady

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • Office-seekers and speech-makers, who do not so much as lay an honest egg, but wear their breasts bare upon an egg of chalk!

  • Now look here, son, I don't usually talk about myself, but—I'm honest.

    A Poor Wise Man

    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • An honest man dies but once, but a traitor dies a thousand deaths.

    The Puppet Crown

    Harold MacGrath

  • And pray, brother, what's become of his honest companion, Duretete?

    The Inconstant

    George Farquhar

British Dictionary definitions for honest



not given to lying, cheating, stealing, etc; trustworthy
not false or misleading; genuine
just or fairhonest wages
characterized by sincerity and candouran honest appraisal
without pretensions or artificial traitshonest farmers
archaic (of a woman) respectable
honest broker a mediator in disputes, esp international ones
honest Injun (interjection) school slang genuinely, really
honest to God or honest to goodness
  1. (adjective)completely authentic
  2. (interjection)an expression of affirmation or surprise
make an honest woman of to marry (a woman, esp one who is pregnant) to prevent scandal
Derived Formshonestness, noun

Word Origin for honest

C13: from Old French honeste, from Latin honestus distinguished, from honōs honour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for honest

c.1300, "respectable, decent, of neat appearance," also "free from fraud," from Old French honeste (12c.; Modern French honnête), from Latin honestus "honorable, respected, regarded with honor," figuratively "deserving honor, honorable, respectable," from honos (see honor (n.)). Main modern sense of "dealing fairly, truthful" is c.1400, as is sense of "virtuous." Phrase to make an honest woman of "marry a woman after seduction" is from 1620s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with honest


In addition to the idioms beginning with honest

  • honest to God

also see:

  • come by (honestly)
  • open (honest) and aboveboard
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.