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From Middle English honeste (“honour, integrity”), from Old French honesté (compare modern French honnêteté) (honest + -y); the plant, from the visibility of the seeds through the translucent pods. Displaced native Old English sōþfæstnes.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈɒnəsti/, /ˈɒnəstɪ/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈɑːnəsti/
Audio (US) (file)
- (uncountable, countable) The act, quality, or condition of being honest.
- academic / artistic / emotional / intellectual honesty
- brutal / devastating / searing honesty
- c. 1591–1595, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii]:
- There’s no trust,
No faith, no honesty in men; all perjured,
All forsworn, all naught, all dissemblers.
- 1787, George Colman, Junior, Inkle and Yarico, London: G.G.J. & J. Robinson, Act 2, p. 45,
- O give me your plain dealing Fellows
- Who never from honesty shrink;
- Not thinking on all they shou’d tell us,
- But telling us all that they think.
- 1965, George Steiner, “Dying is an Art” in Language and Silence: Essays on Language, Literature and the Inhuman, New York: Atheneum, 1986, p. 295,
- To those who knew her and to the greatly enlarged circle who were electrified by her last poems and sudden death, she had come to signify the specific honesties and risks of the poet’s condition.
- (uncountable, countable, obsolete) Honor; decency, propriety.
- c. 1601–1602, William Shakespeare, “Twelfe Night, or VVhat You VVill”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene iii]:
- Have ye no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night?
- (uncountable, countable, obsolete) Chastity.
- c. 1597, William Shakespeare, “The Merry VViues of VVindsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act II, scene ii]:
- [...] spend all I have; only give me so much of your time in exchange of it, as to lay an amiable siege to the honesty of this Ford’s wife [...]
- c. 1625, John Fletcher, The Fair Maid of the Inn, Act V, Scene 1, in Alexander Dyce (editor), The Works of Beaumont and Fletcher, New York: Appleton, 1890, Volume 2, p. 669,
- [...] Oh, these vild women,
- That are so ill preservers of men’s honours,
- They cannot govern their own honesties!
- (countable) Any of various crucifers in the genus Lunaria, several of which are grown as ornamentals, particularly Lunaria annua.
quality of being honest
- honesty in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
- Alternative form of