The Meaning of Candor: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of candor? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word candor, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word candor mean?

According to Collins English Dictionary and The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, the word candor is a noun that means honesty and transparency. If someone has candor, they are very honest and do not have secrets. They are not sly or sneaky, and are very forthright. Formerly, the word candor meant whiteness or purity and innocence. However, nowadays, it refers to the quality of impartiality, fairness, and frankness. Candor is two syllables – can-dor, and the pronunciation of candor is ˈkændər.

There are many different languages that also use words that mean candor. You may notice that some of these translations look and sound similar to the word candor. These cognates are often formed when two words of different languages share a common origin, such as Latin or Greek. This list of translations of candor is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Portuguese: franqueza‎ (fem.)
  •  Persian: خلوص‎ (xolus)
  •  German: Aufrichtigkeit‎ (fem.), Freimut‎ (masc.), Redlichkeit‎ (fem.), Ehrlichkeit‎ (fem.), Offenheit‎ (fem.), Freimütigkeit‎ (fem.), Offenherzigkeit‎ (fem.)
  •  Czech: upřímnost‎ (fem.)
  •  Dutch: openheid‎, openhartigheid‎, eerlijkheid‎, oprechtheid‎, onbevangenheid‎
  •  Spanish: candor‎
  •  Bulgarian: искреност‎ (fem.), честност‎ (fem.), откровеност‎ (fem.)
  •  Greek: ειλικρίνεια‎ (fem.), ευθύτητα‎ (fem.)
  •  French: candeur‎ (fem.)
  •  Hungarian: nyíltság‎, őszinteség‎
  •  Finnish: vilpittömyys‎, suoruus‎
  •  Polish: szczerość‎ (fem.), otwartość‎ (fem.), uczciwość‎ (fem.)
  •  Turkish: içtenlik‎
  •  Russian: прямота́‎ (fem.), че́стность‎ (fem.)

What are synonyms and antonyms of candor?

There are many different words that can be used in place of the word candor. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another word or phrase. Synonyms are useful to know if you are trying to avoid repeating yourself or if you are simply looking to expand your vocabulary! This list of synonyms is provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  square deal
  •  openness
  •  genuineness
  •  naivete
  •  plainness
  •  candour
  •  truth
  •  candidness
  •  fidelity
  •  guilelessness
  •  outspokenness
  •  sportsmanship
  •  integrity
  •  probity
  •  ingenuousness
  •  authenticity
  •  innocence
  •  correctness
  •  open-mindedness
  •  artlessness
  •  fair-mindedness
  •  bluntness
  •  good faith
  •  impartiality
  •  fair shake
  •  unguardedness
  •  honesties
  •  uprightness
  •  frankness
  •  unaffectedness
  •  openheartedness
  •  trustworthiness
  •  sincerity
  •  naturalness
  •  fairness
  •  truthfulness
  •  straightforwardness
  •  directness
  •  honestness
  •  unreservedness
  •  simplicity
  •  unreserve
  •  accuracy
  •  veracity
  •  verity
  •  plainspokenness
  •  forthrightness
  •  straightness
  •  sincereness
  •  honesty

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word candor. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are also a useful English language grammatical device to know if you are trying to expand your vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Power Thesaurus

  •  camouflage
  •  corruption
  •  falsity
  •  hiding
  •  disguising
  •  dishonesty
  •  shiftiness
  •  closeting
  •  crime
  •  hypocrisy
  •  wiliness
  •  crookedness
  •  craftiness
  •  lying
  •  duplicity
  •  pretense
  •  sneakiness
  •  artifice
  •  cheating
  •  cunning
  •  reticence
  •  double-dealing
  •  ambiguity
  •  colorism
  •  dissimulation
  •  concealment
  •  burial
  •  lie
  •  dissembling
  •  shenanigans
  •  underhandedness
  •  masking
  •  faithlessness
  •  falsehood
  •  whitewash
  •  blanket of secrecy
  •  evil
  •  guile
  •  fabrication
  •  deceit
  •  deception
  •  secretiveness
  •  falseness
  •  unfairness
  •  fake
  •  ambiguousness
  •  trickery
  •  act
  •  mendacity
  •  deceitfulness
  •  disguise

What is the origin of the word candor?

According to Etymonline, the word candor has been used since c17 and comes from the Latin candor and Latin verb candēre/candere and candeō. This was used earlier in c16 Middle English to mean extreme whiteness rather than honesty. These come from the same Indo-European root that formed the Welsh can, meaning “white,” and the Sanskrit language and Hindi “candati.” Other related words include “candid,” “incandescent,” “candle,” and the somewhat less common “candent” and “candescent.” These all relate to radiance, purity, and glow, from the initial meaning of candor in the Latin sense, and as used in Old French as well. This word is of Indo-European roots.

How can the word candor be used in a sentence?

There are many different ways that the word candor can be used in a sentence. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making flashcards for yourself or quizzes to test your knowledge. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are several examples of the word candor to help get you started.

The young Americans provided candid feedback via Facebook to the business people from Tesla to point them in the right direction. They were tired of being taken advantage of and ready for an external upheaval. The story was covered by the Washington Post with precision, and made the news around the world.

The Princeton University student received praise for her candor. It wasn’t easy for a student to be so forthcoming about the inequality that she saw in her classes at such a high level of institution, but she knew that it was the right thing to do. Everyone in her life was impressed with her bravery and honesty. 

While it wasn’t the norm, the judge showed candor when judging the baking competition. She showed her simultaneous revulsion for the burnt sugar, and the apple fight that occurred in the baking portion. She had a nagging suspicion she wouldn’t be asked to return, and she was correct.

The digital agency exec showed candor when speaking about client expectations. As a performance marketing media buyer, he did not want people to think the employees in the workplace were being taken advantage of. He offered full transparency about his disposition and the current sense dates of the project.

Kim Scott showed radical candor and openness of mind when she approached her boss about the secrets, discrimination and prejudice within the company. She did not reserve any judgments and urged change from her and her coworkers.

Overall, the word candor means honesty or transparency. This noun is of Latin and Indo-European roots.


  1. Candor synonyms – 517 Words and Phrases for Candor | Power Thesaurus 
  2. Candor antonyms – 790 Opposites of Candor | Power Thesaurus 
  3. candor: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  4. candor | Origin and meaning of candor | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Candor definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary