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Difference Between Honesty and Integrity

Main Difference – Honesty vs Integrity

Since honesty and integrity are two qualities that are always associated together many people assume that honesty and integrity are the same. However, there is a distinctive difference between honesty and integrity. Honesty refers to sincerity or truthfulness whereas integrity has a much broader meaning, encompassing honesty as well as moral soundness. This is the main difference between honesty and integrity. Although a person with integrity may be honest, not all honest people may have integrity. Let’s see why this happens in this article.

What is Honesty

Honesty can be defined as free of deceit, truthful or sincere. In brief, an honest person does not tell lies; he always speaks the truth. Dishonesty is the opposite of honesty; a dishonest person lies, cheats and deceives others. But an honest person is not like this; an honest person is trusted by all. Honesty is considered to be a virtue in many religions as well.

However, the quality of honesty alone does not indicate that a person is good. Let’s look at the below example to understand this notion better.

Imagine that you broke your mother’s favorite vase by mistake. If anybody doesn’t ask you whether you were responsible for it, and if you tell nobody that you broke it, you can keep silent – you are not lying or deceiving anyone. So, basically, you can console yourself,  saying that you are an honest person since you didn’t lie. But, if you are a person with integrity, you’d admit your mistake to your mother. Let’s see what integrity is.

What is Integrity

Integrity is the quality of being honest and following a strict moral code. The American Heritage Dictionary  defines integrity as  “steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code” whereas Oxford dictionary defines it as the “quality of being honest and having strong moral principles”.

Integrity includes selecting moral or ethical code which should be followed, acting according to this code even when it is difficult or inconvenient to do so. A person with integrity would always admit his mistakes, and he would be trustworthy, sincere, and steadfast. If a person is acting according to his beliefs and his moral code, he is acting with integrity.

Difference Between Honesty and Integrity

Meaning 

Honesty is being truthful, sincere and free of deceit.

Integrity is steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

Words vs Actions

Honesty deals with words.

Integrity deals with actions.

Moral Code

Honesty does not imply that a person adheres to a moral code.

Integrity implies that a person adheres to a moral code.

Interdependence 

Honesty is not a guarantee of integrity.

Integrity is a guarantee of honesty.

Image Courtesy:

“Honesty Quotes very expensive gift | Personality Quotes” by Prabakaran Thirumalai (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

“Integrity” (CC BY-SA 3.0 NY) via The Blue Diamond Gallery