Annual Honesty

Looking for a virtue-name that out-virtues Grace, Faithand Honor?

Thanks to Vicki for suggesting Honesty as our Baby Name of the Day.


Here’s the thing about Honesty: besides being an over-the-top virtue name, it is also a flower.

And a rather pretty one, too, at least some of the time.  Perennial honesty is an herb found in Europe.  Annual honesty is pictured above, a flowering plant found in Asia and the Balkans.  

If any floral name is a possibility, then Honesty has potential.

But wait, there are more reasons to consider Honesty a given name:

The real stamp of authenticity might be this: Saint Honestus was a third century evangelist, martyred in a Christian persecution in Spain.  He was also called Honest and Honesto.  So Honesty isn’t too far off from a name with some history of use.

Saints and flowers aside, Honesty is a very powerful word.

It comes from the Latin honestatum.  Today it means to be truthful and fair.  Originally, honesty was about character, integrity, and honor.  At one time, it implied elegance, too.  Now the word is more humble, but still has all of the force of the virtue.

There’s something about Honesty that is gentle.  In the 1970s, Avon had a perfume called Sweet Honesty.  And Elton John recorded a song called “Sweet Honesty” in the 1960s – though it is not one of his better-known songs.  And in 1974, Olivia Newton-John scored a huge, career-making hit with “I Honestly Love You.”  So that’s pop culture’s influence, which isn’t nothing – but doesn’t necessarily make it feel more like a given name.

I’m tempted to call it a Puritan name – except that I can’t find a single early colonist actually named Honesty.  John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, an enduring 1678 religious work, used names like ChristianFaithful, Prudence, and yes, Honest.  But most of the names Bunyan used were clearly descriptive, not names to be borrowed for actual children.  Alongside his virtuous picks were choices like Watchful, Timorous, and Despondency.

Maybe there weren’t any early colonists answering to the name, but it has caught on with twenty-first century American families.  In 2012, 225 girls were named Honesty, plus another 39 girls named Honesti and eight called Honestee.

There was also a birth announcement for Clementine Clara Honesty in October 2013’s Nameberry Babyberry report.

While Honesty had never cracked the US Top 1000 as of 2012, she’s poised to enter the rankings.  With choices like Genesis and Destiny in the Top 100, it isn’t a stretch to imagine parents considering Honesty.  She’s less old-school than choices like Temperance, but she’s not quite as novel as Serenity.

Overall, Honesty is quite the name.  She’s stunning in the middle spot, and she’s one to cautiously consider as a given name, too.  If girls can be named Hope, maybe Honesty is just as wearable.

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About Abby Sandel

Whether you're naming a baby, or just all about names, you've come to the right place! Appellation Mountain is a haven for lovers of obscure gems and enduring classics alike.

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What do you think?


  1. You didn’t mention the nicest thing about honesty, the flower – its magnificent seed pods! Always make me smile (it grows wild here in the UK too).

  2. And can I just say, “Honestly Honesty? Is Honesty honestly your real name? ” (yeeeeaaah) that joke got old REALLY fast.

  3. I’m so please to see so many people love my make as much as I do. My mother named me Honesty Leigh. She said Honesty is the most important thing in a relationship. And imagine her surprise when I named her grandson, Temper. Hahahaha! God bless the unique names. And all those who proudly own them.

    1. Darn spell correct never correctly corrects spelling…. Sorry for the typos. :))

  4. Beautiful write-up, thank you!

    We have lots of positive comments on it as a middle name although I guess you never know if they are sincere! Interestingly I now think of the flower first as to me it is more ‘namey’. Nice to see some other commenters liking it too.

  5. I love the flower. I can’t help thinking it’s Latin name, Lunaria, works too.

    My favourite virtue names are the longer, -y ending ones, so Honesty sort of slips right in. The only mark against Honesty is, amusingly, it’s so honest; Verity or Amity probably go most of their elementary school years without anyone teasing about the meaning.

  6. I am a huge fan of virtue names. Constance and Felicity tie for first in my book, but I can definitely see the appeal of Honesty. Like all virtue names, there’s the necessary level of separation between expectations and reality. There may be a few jokes “now be honest Honesty” and that sort of thing. But I like it!
    I’m sure everyone’s seen the “Utah names” video by now, but if Aunistee is on your list, I’d stick with the tried and true spelling 😉