Advertisement

Honesty is the best policy

  • Honesty is the best policy is a proverb that dates to the 1500s. A proverb is a short, common saying or phrase. These common sayings are language tools that particularly give advice or share a universal truth, or impart wisdom. Synonyms for proverb include adage, aphorism, sayings, and byword, which can also be someone or something that is the best example of a group. Often, a proverb is so familiar that a speaker will only quote half of it, relying on the listener to supply the ending of the written or spoken proverb himself. Speakers of English as a second language are sometimes confused by these pithy sayings as translations from English to other languages do not carry the impact that the English phrases carry. Some common proverbs are the wise sayings better late than never, early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, haste makes waste, blood is thicker than water, and a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. One of the books of the Bible is the Book of Proverbs, which contains words and phrases that are still often quoted in the English language because they are wise. Many current proverbs are quotations taken from literature, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the Bible and other sacred writings. We will examine the meaning of the expression honesty is the best policy, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.


     

    Honesty is the best policy means that it is better to tell the truth than to tell a lie, no matter the consequences. Sometimes it is difficult to tell someone the truth because of the possible repercussions from telling that truth. Someone may think less of you if you tell the truth, you may lose a business deal, or you may even incur a fine or jail sentence. The proverb honesty is the best policy means it is better to admit one’s shortcomings and simply endure the consequences rather than live inauthentically or in fear of being found out. It is important to be honest and trustworthy and to demonstrate sincerity and truthfulness. However, little white lies do not erode one’s integrity. A little white lie is a minor deception designed to save someone else’s feelings. The expression honesty is the best policy is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, an American statesman who lived in the 1700s. However, the phrase honesty is the best policy may be traced to Sir Edwin Sandys, an official for the Virginia Company, which founded the first American colony in Jamestown, Virginia. In his work, Europae Speculum, written in 1599, he wrote: “Our grosse conceipts, who think honestie the best policie.”

    Advertisement

    Examples

    “Honesty is the best policy” was a favourite topic of debates in school. (The Indian Express)

    “We teach our children that honesty is the best policy, but we also tell them it’s polite to pretend they like a birthday gift they’ve been given,” Dr. Feldman says. (Time Magazine)

    Compounding matters, the normalization of so-called “hook-up culture” and its associated anonymity can also lead to the potentially awkward situation of notifying your partner about your diagnosis, said Clark, who cautioned that “honesty is the best policy.” (The Cornell Sun)

    Sometimes it’s hard, and you might know how to describe it, but honesty is the best policy and you can’t keep those feelings all bottled up inside. (The Chronicle)


    About Grammarist
    Contact | Privacy policy | Home
    © Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist