The American Heritage dictionary defines honesty as the condition orquality of being honest integrity trustworthy truthful. On theother hand, the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term honestyas fairness and straightforwardness of conduct or the adherence offacts.is a noun derived from the adjective honest. Honest,on the other hand, is defined by the Oxford dictionary as being freeof deceit truthful, and sincere. The Cambridge dictionary defineshonest as telling the truth, or able to be trusted, and not likely tolie, steal, or cheat.
In the definition of honesty, there are certain terms which must beexplained. These words include truthful and trustworthy. Peopleoften confuse trustworthy with being truthful. According to theAmerican Heritage Dictionary, trustworthy means being reliable orwarranting trust while truthful is telling the truth at all the time.It is good to note that one can be truthful but remainsuntrustworthy. For example, if a person is truthful, he/she tellseverything he/she knows about the issue in question. However, thismay make him/her untrustworthy since one is not likely to confide insuch a person any confidential information. Besides, it is possiblefor a person to be truthful, even if he/she is not lawful. Forexample, a person may be acting as a witness in a court of law andquestions may be directed at him/her, but he/she may answer themtruthfully to the best of his/her knowledge. However, the person mayfail to give certain information just because it was not asked. Insuch a case, the person is being truthful since he/she has told thetruth consistently. However, he/she may not be lawful since he/shehas failed to give certain information just because it was requested.
On the other hand, honesty is broader as it encompasses beingtruthful, trustworthy, and reliable. As such, being honest meanstelling the trust despite the personal risk associating with it. Itimplies being truthful irrespective of the conditions that one faces.As such, an honest person does not have to wait to be asked about acertain information for him/her to provide it. Instead, he/she goesahead to tell everything he/she knows about the issue in question forpersonal good as well as for the well-being of others. For manypeople, honesty means not telling lies. However, this is the partlytrue because honesty means not doing things that one knows aremorally wrong such as cheating. Besides, being honest also encompassabiding by the law. For example, a person may tell the truth abouthis/her source of wealth, but he/she remain a dishonest person ifhis/her ways of earning a livelihood violate the law. For example,the term honest is used to describe effort or work. One may say, I amglad you did an honest job. This means that a person followed the setrules regarding how the work was supposed to be done. This impliesthat one may steal from another person and remain an honest person.For example, what if one gives another person less amount of moneythan he/she was supposed without knowing? In this case, one may saythat he/she made an honest mistake. Besides, in the law, a personcannot be held accountable for his/her actions in case he/she did notact maliciously.
According to the online Etymology Dictionary, the term honesty in theearly 14 c meant splendor, elegance, or honor. In the Old French, theword honesty pronounced as oneste or honeste meant respectability ordecency. In Latin, the term honesty pronounced as honestatem meantcharacter, reputation or honor received from others. The onlineEtymology Dictionary defines honest as moral purity, virtue,justness, and uprightness. It means that originally the term honestlyhad more to do with honor than telling the truth. It means that aperson was not only telling the truth to save him/herself, but he/shealso aimed at helping others who needed to know about a particularincident. As such, honesty means telling the truth because it is theright thing to do. This meaning can be derived from the terms moralpurity, virtue, and uprightness that were used to define the termhonesty from the beginning. When the old French defined honesty as avirtue, it meant that honesty was a character. It implies that aperson tells the truth of the matter as he/she understands it ashe/she want his/her character to be identified with honesty. As faras good character is concerned, it helps to improve the relationshipwith other people. This implies that being honesty serves afuturistic goal. For example, a truthful and trustworthy person canbe relied upon in the future to tell the truth as people have come toidentify him/her as an honest person. Besides, from the old meaningof the term honesty, a person tells the truth to gain or for therespect of other people as well as their feelings. This implies thata person puts him/herself in the shoes of the individual who needsthe truth. As such, one does not tell the truth just for the sake.Besides, it implies that one tells the truth because he/she is likelyto be haunted in case he/she lies. As such, an honest person feelsguilty or remorse if he/she contemplates of telling the lies.
In conclusion, the term honesty encompasses the qualities oftruthfulness, trustworthiness, and integrity. It is a noun derivedfrom the adjective honest. Being honest implies free from deceit,sincere, and truthful. People misinterpret the term honesty to meanonly telling the truth. For example, a person is not likely toconsider him/herself as dishonest if he/she does not say about acertain incident just because nobody asked about it. However, theterm is broader since it covers the areas of being morally right andabiding by the law. The word honesty originated from Old French inwhich it meant respectability and decency. In Latin, the term honestymeant virtue, uprightness, and moral purity. The origin of the wordhonesty shows that it is was derived from the term honor and honestas the modern language tends to suggest. The act of being honest wasassociated with bringing honor and respect for oneself. wasviewed as having long-term implications because telling the truthpositively impacted on a person’s character.
American Heritage Dictionary. “.” Accessed on October 17,2016. https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=honesty
American Heritage Dictionary. “Trustworthy." Accessed onOctober 17, 2016.https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=trustworthy&submit.x=31&submit.y=24
Cambridge Dictionary. “Honest.”http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/honest
Merriam-Webster Dictionary. "." Accessed on October17, 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/honesty
Online Etymology Dictionary. “.” Accessed on October 17,2016. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=honesty