Honesty Quotes

I hope you enjoy this extensive collection of honesty quotes that extoll the benefits of honesty and the pitfalls of dishonesty.

Honesty Quotes Index

About Honesty
Bible Verses
Brutal Truth
Consequences of a Lie
High Calling of Honesty
Honesty and Politics
Honesty Defined
Honesty’s Companions
Importance of Honesty
Irony of Honesty
Lying and Memory
Partial Truths
Quotes by Famous People
Recognizing Dishonesty
White Lies

About Honesty

"The truth is a solid foundation to stand on."
~ Linda Lovejoy

"The greatest truth is honesty, and the greatest falsehood is dishonesty."
~ Abu Bakr

"A truth that's told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent."
~ William Blake, "Auguries of Innocence," Poems from the Pickering Manuscript

"Honesty is never seen sitting astride the fence."
~ Lemuel K. Washburn, Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays, 1911

"Truth fears no questions."
~ Unknown

"The truth brings with it a great measure of absolution, always."
~ R.D. Laing

"Like all valuable commodities, truth is often counterfeited."
~ James Cardinal Gibbons

"Respect for the truth is an acquired taste."
~ Mark Van Doren, Liberal Education, 1943

"The truth needs so little rehearsal."
~ Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

"A friend to honesty and a foe to crime."
~ Allan Pinkerton

"Accuracy is the twin brother of honesty; inaccuracy, of dishonesty."
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Honesty is as rare as a man without self-pity."
~ Stephen Vincent Benet

"Honesty is something you can't wear out."
~ Waylon Jennings

"Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully."
~ Richard Bach

"The Five Levels of Truth-Telling: First, you tell the truth to yourself about yourself. Then you tell the truth to yourself about another. At the third level, you tell the truth about yourself to another. Then you tell your truth about another to that other. And finally, you tell the truth to everyone about everything."
~ Neale Donald Walsch Conversations with God (Book 2)

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Bible Verses

"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ."
~ Bible - Ephesians 4:15 (NIV)

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
~ Bible - John 8:32 (NIV)

"Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people."
~ Bible - Proverbs 11:3 (NLT)

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Brutal Truth

"People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty."
~ Richard J. Needham

"There is always a way to be honest without being brutal."
~ Arthur Dobrin

"Honesty has come to mean the privilege of insulting you to your face without expecting redress."
~ Judith Martin

"The person who is brutally honest enjoys the brutality quite as much as the honesty. Possibly more."
~ Richard J. Needham

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Consequences of a Lie

"Every lie has a consequence.....you cannot escape that."
~ Gary King

"The biggest consequence to telling a lie is, it leads you to telling another one."
~ Gary King

"The hardest tumble a man can make is to fall over his own bluff."
~ Ambrose Bierce

"A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future."
~ Author Unknown

"Worse than telling a lie is spending the rest of your life staying true to a lie."
~ Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

"We tell lies when we are afraid... afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger."
~ Tad Williams

"It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When a man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime."
~ Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

"It is not difficult to deceive the first time, for the deceived possesses no antibodies; unvaccinated by suspicion, she overlooks lateness, accepts absurd excuses, permits the flimsiest patching to repair great rents in the quotidian."
~ John Updike

"He that loseth his honesty hath nothing else to lose."
~ John Lyly

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High Calling of Honesty

"The truth is the only thing worth having, and, in a civilized life, like ours, where so many risks are removed, facing it is almost the only courageous thing left to do."
~ E.V. Lucas

"That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something."
~ Meredith Monk

"Would that the simple maxim, that honesty is the best policy, might be laid to heart; that a sense of the true aim of life might elevate the tone of politics and trade till public and private honor become identical."
~ Margaret Fuller

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Honesty and Politics

"Living in Washington, you can't take politics too seriously. I draw the line at honesty. I have no time for political hacks who say things they don't believe because they get paid to."
~ Tucker Carlson

"Washington's entire honesty of mind and his fearless look into the face of all facts are qualities which can never go out of fashion and which we should all do well to imitate."
~ Henry Cabot Lodge

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Honesty Defined

"Honesty is as much saying everything as it is saying what is true."
~ Richard Snelling

"Integrity is telling myself the Truth. And Honesty is telling the Truth to other people."
~ Spencer Johnson

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Honesty’s Companions

"Industry, economy, honesty, and kindness form a quartet of virtues that will never be improved upon."
~ James Oliver

"Concentration is my motto - first honesty, then industry, then concentration."
~ Andrew Carnegie

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"One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives."
~ Mark Twain

"Honesty pays, but it don't seem to pay enough to suit some people."
~ Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard

"There are only two ways of telling the complete truth - anonymously and posthumously."
~ Thomas Sowell

"It takes two to lie. One to lie and one to listen."
~ "Homer Simpson," from the television show The Simpsons

"There's one way to find out if a man is honest - ask him. If he says, 'Yes,' you know he is a crook."
~ Groucho Marx

"The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
~ Groucho Marx

"Someday a computer will give a wrong answer to spare someone's feelings, and man will have invented artificial intelligence."
~ Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

"The best measure of a man's honesty isn't his income tax return. It's the zero adjust on his bathroom scale."
~ Arthur C. Clarke

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Importance of Honesty

"I think the number one thing that I find important is the importance of honesty with your friends and your parents, if you can be. But I think that telling people how you really feel, being who you truly are, being safe and taking care of yourself is the most important thing."
~ Emma Stone

"Good design begins with honesty, asks tough questions, comes from collaboration and from trusting your intuition."
~ Freeman Thomas

"Honesty is all you need."
~ Cass Elliot

"I feel honesty always works."
~ Bobby Unser

"Neither soldiers nor money can defend a king but only friends won by good deeds, merit, and honesty."
~ Sallust

"The true measure of life is not length, but honesty."
~ John Lyly

"The Truth which has made us free will in the end make us glad, also."
~ Felix Adler

"Truth and Honesty is the oldest and most powerful of all of the human values."
~ Gary King

"Our lives improve only when we take chances
~ and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be Honest with ourselves."
~ Walter Anderson

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"It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place."
~ Henry Louis Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

"A lie has speed, but truth has endurance."
~ Edgar J. Mohn

"I never lie because I don't fear anyone. You only lie when you're afraid."
~ John Gotti

"Pretty much all the honest truth telling in the world is done by children."
~ Oliver Wendell

"The cruelest lies are often told in silence."
~ Adlai Stevenson

"Always tell the truth. If you can't always tell the truth, don't lie."
~ Author Unknown

"A sarcastic person has a superiority complex that can be cured only by the honesty of humility."
~ Lawrence G. Lovasik

"Especially when you deal with comedy, you have got to be really honest because it's the honesty and the spontaneity that causes people to chuckle, that catches people."
~ Austin Peck

"Honesty does not always bring a response of love, but it is absolutely essential to it."
~ Ray Blanton

"I've done more harm by the falseness of trying to please than by the honesty of trying to hurt."
~ Jessamyn West

"If you do not tell the Truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people."
~ Virginia Woolf

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"A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie."
~ Charles Edward Montague, Disenchantment

"Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie."
~ Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

"Almost any difficulty will move in the face of honesty. When I am honest I never feel stupid. And when I am honest I am automatically humble."
~ Hugh Prather

"He that fails in his endeavors after wealth or power will not long retain either honesty or courage."
~ Samuel Johnson

"The elegance of honesty needs no adornment."
~ Merry Browne

“The Light is more than some abstract, unknowable energy force. Light is Truth. If Light is truth, then darkness must be lies. Each and every lie we tell to ourselves and others casts the shadow of separation upon us. Every time even the most minor deception is revealed and the truth is made known we are re-united with the Light. So, Let there be Light. Those are the words by which you can create your own magnificent world.”
~ Renee Bledsoe, Addiction Alchemy

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Irony of Honesty

"Honesty is the rarest wealth anyone can possess, and yet all the honesty in the world ain't lawful tender for a loaf of bread."
~ Josh Billings

I"t has always seemed strange to me... the things we admire in men, kindness and generosity, openness, honesty, understanding and feeling, are the concomitants of failure in our system. And those traits we detest, sharpness, greed, acquisitiveness, meanness, egotism and self-interest, are the traits of success. And while men admire the quality of the first they love the produce of the second."
~ John Steinbeck

"It is discouraging how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
~ Noel Coward

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Lying and Memory

"It is not without good reason said, that he who has not a good memory should never take upon him the trade of lying."
~ Michel de Montaigne, translated

"No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar."
~ Abraham Lincoln

"Always tell the Truth. That way, you don’t have to remember what you said."
~ Mark Twain

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Partial Truths

"The most dangerous untruths are truths moderately distorted."
~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"When you stretch the truth, watch out for the snapback."
~ Bill Copeland

"If you want to ruin the truth, stretch it."
~ Author Unknown

"Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half."
~ Author Unknown

"When truth is divided, errors multiply."
~ Eli Siegel, Damned Welcome

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"Dare to be true: nothing can need a lie: A fault, which needs it most, grows two thereby."
~ George Herbert

"The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold."
~ Aristotle

"There is no well-defined boundary between honesty and dishonesty. The frontiers of one blend with the outside limits of the other, and he who attempts to tread this dangerous ground may be sometimes in one domain and sometimes in the other."
~ O. Henry, Rolling Stones, 1912

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"Speak the truth, but leave immediately after."
~ Slovenian Proverb

"With lies you may get ahead in the world - but you can never go back."
~ Russian proverb

W"ho lies for you will lie against you."
~ Bosnian Proverb

"A half truth is a whole lie."
~ Yiddish Proverb

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Quotes by Famous People

"Truth is generally the best vindication against slander."
~ Abraham Lincoln

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all the people all the time."
~ Abraham Lincoln

"The important things are children, honesty, integrity and faith."
~ Andy Williams

"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the Truth."
~ Benjamin Disraeli

"Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it."
~ Emily Dickinson

"Confidence... thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live."
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

"In all my public and private acts as your president, I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end."
~ Gerald R. Ford

"All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse."
~ John Quincy Adams

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"Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained. Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained."
~ Lao Tzu

"I was brought up to believe that the only thing worth doing was to add to the sum of accurate information in the world."
~ Margaret Mead

"When in doubt, tell the Truth."
~ Mark Twain

"Often the surest way to convey misinformation is to tell the strict truth."
~ Mark Twain, Following the Equator

"I am different from Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won't."
~ Mark Twain

"Truth allows you to live with integrity. Everything you do and say shows the world who you really are. Let it be the Truth."
~ Oprah Winfrey

"Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not."
~ Oprah Winfrey

"You will reciprocally promise love, loyalty and matrimonial honesty. We only want for you this day that these words constitute the principle of your entire life and that with the help of divine grace you will observe these solemn vows that today, before God, you formulate."
~ Pope John Paul II

"The highest compact we can make with our fellow is - 'Let there be truth between us two forevermore.'"
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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"The trite saying that honesty is the best policy has met with the just criticism that honesty is not policy. The real honest man is honest from conviction of what is right, not from policy."
~ Robert E. Lee

"The high road is always respected. Honesty and integrity are always rewarded."
~ Scott Hamilton

"Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom."
~ Thomas Jefferson

"Have the courage to say No. Have the courage to face the Truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."
~ W. Clement Stone

"No legacy is so rich as honesty."
~ William Shakespeare

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened."
~ Winston Churchill

"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to put its pants on."
~ Winston Churchill

"The foundation stones for a balanced success are honesty, character, integrity, faith, love and loyalty."
~ Zig Ziglar

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Recognizing Dishonesty

"I think the greatest rogues are they who talk most of their honesty."
~ Anthony Trollope

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Teaching Your Children Honesty

"Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you."
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education."
~ John Ruskin

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White Lies

"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true."
~ Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com

"Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind."
~ Austin O'Malley

"Some people will not tolerate such emotional honesty in communication. They would rather defend their dishonesty on the grounds that it might hurt others. Therefore, having rationalized their phoniness into nobility, they settle for superficial relationships."
~ Author Unknown

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