Honesty is the best policy

Honesty is the best policy is a proverb that dates to the 1500s. 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.”

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)