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c.1300, "respectable, decent, of neat appearance," also "free from fraud," from Old French honeste (12c.; Modern French honnête), from Latin honestus "honorable, respected, regarded with honor," figuratively "deserving honor, honorable, respectable," from honos (see honor (n.)). Main modern sense of "dealing fairly, truthful" is c.1400, as is sense of "virtuous." Phrase to make an honest woman of "marry a woman after seduction" is from 1620s.