Being direct, honest, and to the point; avoiding false modesty, braggadocio, and euphemistic language.

A sort of simplicity/innocence in talk, dispensing with euphemism and flattery and winks-and-nods and insinuations and exaggerations and incantations. Perhaps not being ostentatious about your education with ten-dollar words might fall under this heading too. As well as the skill of speaking simply and to the point rather than rambling.

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices

  • all hat, no cattle
  • evasiveness
  • false modesty
  • flattery
  • manipulativeness
  • ostentation

Virtues possibly in tension

How to acquire or strengthen it

Notes and links

Mentioned elsewhere

  • Aristotle highlights this virtue in the context of talking about oneself. One should speak of one’s own virtues, vices, achievements, and handicaps with candor and honesty, giving a true account of oneself.

Inspirational quotes

  • “[L]et sincerity and ingenuousness be thy refuge, rather than craft and falsehood: for cunning borders very near upon knavery. Wisdom never uses nor wants it. Cunning to the wise, is as an ape to a man.” ―William Penn
  • “But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” ―James 5:12
  • “Clichés, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality, that is, against the claim on our thinking attention that all events and facts make by virtue of their existence.” ―Hannah Arendt, The Life of the Mind
  • “Artful speech and an ingratiating demeanor rarely accompany virtue.” (Analects of Confucius, I.III & XVII.XVII)
  • ""When people speak in a very elaborate and sophisticated way, they either want to tell a lie, or to admire themselves. You should not believe such people. Good speech is always clear, clever, and understood by all." —Leo Tolstoy