1. Disposed to lie, cheat, defraud, or deceive.
2. Resulting from or marked by a lack of honesty.
[Middle English dishoneste, dishonorable, from Old French deshoneste, probably from Medieval Latin *dishonestus : Latin dis-, dis- + Latin honestus, honorable; see HONEST.]
Synonyms: dishonest, lying2, untruthful, deceitful, mendacious
These adjectives mean lacking honesty or truthfulness. Dishonest is the least specific: a dishonest reply; a dishonest business executive; had been dishonest with myself.
Lying conveys a blunt accusation of falsehood: a lying witness whose testimony fell apart under cross-examination.
Untruthful is a softer term and often suggests evasiveness or distortion rather than outright lies: published an untruthful account of the incident.
Deceitful implies misleading by falsehood or by concealment of the truth: deceitful advertising.
Mendacious is more formal than lying, and suggests a chronic inclination toward untruth: a mendacious, power-hungry politician.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.