Honesty is the best policy


What's the meaning of the phrase 'Honesty is the best policy'?

The proverb ‘Honesty is the best policy’ has a straightforward literal meaning, which encourages the populace to tell the turth and avoid crime.

What's the origin of the phrase 'Honesty is the best policy'?

This proverb is first found in the writings of Sir Edwin Sandys, the English politician and colonial entrepreneur, who was prominent in the Virginia Company which founded the first English settlement in America, at Jamestown, Virginia. In Europae Speculum, 1599, Sandys wrote:

Our grosse conceipts, who think honestie the best policie.

See also: the List of Proverbs.

Trend of honesty is the best policy in printed material over time

Gary Martin is a writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.

Gary Martin

Writer and researcher on the origins of phrases and the creator of the Phrase Finder website. Over the past 26 years more than 700 million of his pages have been downloaded by readers. He is one of the most popular and trusted sources of information on phrases and idioms.