Honest vs. Trustworthy - What's the difference?

Main Difference

The main difference between Honest and Trustworthy is that the Honest is a moral quality and Trustworthy is a concept in social sciences.


  • Honest

    Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Honesty also involves being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere. Honesty is valued in many ethnic and religious cultures. "Honesty is the best policy" is a proverb of Benjamin Franklin, while the quote "Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom" is attributed to Thomas Jefferson, as used in a letter to Nathaniel Macon. William Shakespeare famously describes honesty as an attribute people leave behind when he wrote that "no legacy is so rich as honesty" in act 3 scene 5 of "All's Well that Ends Well." Others have noted, however, that "[t]oo much honesty might be seen as undisciplined openness". For example, individuals may be perceived as being "too honest" if they honestly express the negative opinions of others, either without having been asked their opinion, or having been asked in a circumstance where the response would be trivial.

  • Trustworthy

    In a social context, trust has several connotations. Definitions of trust typically refer to a situation characterized by the following aspects: One party (trustor) is willing to rely on the actions of another party (trustee); the situation is directed to the future. In addition, the trustor (voluntarily or forcedly) abandons control over the actions performed by the trustee. As a consequence, the trustor is uncertain about the outcome of the other's actions; they can only develop and evaluate expectations. The uncertainty involves the risk of failure or harm to the trustor if the trustee will not behave as desired. Trust can be attributed to relationships between people. It can be demonstrated that humans have a natural disposition to trust and to judge trustworthiness that can be traced to the neurobiological structure and activity of a human brain. Some studies indicate that trust can be altered e.g. by the application of oxytocin.When it comes to the relationship between people and technology, the attribution of trust is a matter of dispute. The intentional stance demonstrates that trust can be validly attributed to human relationships with complex technologies. However, rational reflection leads to the rejection of an ability to trust technological artefacts.One of the key current challenges in the social sciences is to re-think how the rapid progress of technology has impacted constructs such as trust. This is specifically true for information technology that dramatically alters causation in social systems.In the social sciences, the subtleties of trust are a subject of ongoing research. In sociology and psychology the degree to which one party trusts another is a measure of belief in the honesty, fairness, or benevolence of another party. The term "confidence" is more appropriate for a belief in the competence of the other party. A failure in trust may be forgiven more easily if it is interpreted as a failure of competence rather than a lack of benevolence or honesty. In economics, trust is often conceptualized as reliability in transactions. In all cases trust is a heuristic decision rule, allowing the human to deal with complexities that would require unrealistic effort in rational reasoning.


  • Honest (adjective)

    Scrupulous with regard to telling the truth; not given to swindling, lying, or fraud; upright.

    "We're the most honest people you will ever come across."

  • Honest (adjective)

    True, especially as far as is known by the person making the statement; fair; unbiased.

    "an honest account of events; honest reporting"

  • Honest (adjective)

    In good faith; without malice.

    "an honest mistake"

  • Honest (adjective)


    "an honest scale"

  • Honest (adjective)

    Authentic; full.

    "an honest day's work"

  • Honest (adjective)

    Earned or acquired in a fair manner.

    "an honest dollar"

  • Honest (adjective)

    Open; frank.

    "an honest countenance"

  • Honest (adjective)

    Decent; honourable; suitable; becoming.

  • Honest (adjective)

    Chaste; faithful; virtuous.

  • Honest (verb)

    To adorn or grace; to honour; to make becoming, appropriate, or honourable.

  • Honest (adverb)

    Honestly; really.

    "It wasn’t my fault, honest."

  • Trustworthy (adjective)

    Deserving of trust, reliable.

Oxford Dictionary

  • Trustworthy (adjective)

    able to be relied on as honest or truthful

    "leave a spare key with a trustworthy neighbour"

Webster Dictionary

  • Honest (adjective)

    Decent; honorable; suitable; becoming.

  • Honest (adjective)

    Characterized by integrity or fairness and straightforwardness in conduct, thought, speech, etc.; upright; just; equitable; trustworthy; truthful; sincere; free from fraud, guile, or duplicity; not false; - said of persons and acts, and of things to which a moral quality is imputed; as, an honest judge or merchant; an honest statement; an honest bargain; an honest business; an honest book; an honest confession.

  • Honest (adjective)

    Open; frank; as, an honest countenance.

  • Honest (adjective)

    Chaste; faithful; virtuous.

  • Honest

    To adorn; to grace; to honor; to make becoming, appropriate, or honorable.

  • Trustworthy (adjective)

    Worthy of trust or confidence; trusty.

Princeton's WordNet

  • Honest (adjective)

    not disposed to cheat or defraud; not deceptive or fraudulent;

    "honest lawyers"

    "honest reporting"

    "an honest wage"

    "honest weight"

  • Honest (adjective)

    without dissimulation; frank;

    "my honest opinion"

  • Honest (adjective)

    worthy of being depended on;

    "a dependable worker"

    "an honest working stiff"

    "a reliable source of information"

    "he was true to his word"

    "I would be true for there are those who trust me"

  • Honest (adjective)

    free from guile;

    "his answer was simple and honest"

  • Honest (adjective)

    without pretensions;

    "worked at an honest trade"

    "good honest food"

  • Honest (adjective)

    habitually speaking the truth;

    "an honest man"

    "a veracious witness"

  • Honest (adjective)

    marked by truth;

    "gave honest answers"

  • Trustworthy (adjective)

    worthy of trust or belief;

    "a trustworthy report"

    "an experienced and trustworthy traveling companion"

  • Trustworthy (adjective)

    taking responsibility for one's conduct and obligations;

    "trustworthy public servants"




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