c. 1300, "respectable, decent, of neat appearance," also "free from fraud," from Old French oneste, honeste "virtuous, honorable; decent, respectable" (12c.; Modern French honnête), from Latin honestus "honorable, respected, regarded with honor," figuratively "deserving honor, honorable, respectable," from honos (see honor (n.)) + suffix -tus. Main modern sense of "dealing fairly, truthful, free from deceit" is c. 1400, as is sense of "virtuous, having the virtue of chastity" (of women). Phrase to make an honest woman of "marry (a woman) after seduction" is from 1620s.
updated on August 09, 2015