AskDefine | Define integrity

Dictionary Definition



1 an unreduced or unbroken completeness or totality [syn: unity, wholeness]
2 moral soundness

User Contributed Dictionary



From etyl la integritas, from integer.


  • a UK /ɪnˈtɛgɹəti/


  1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.
  2. The state of being wholesome; unimpaired
  3. The quality or condition of being complete; pure


steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code
state of being wholesome; unimpaired
  • Czech: integrita, celistvost
  • Finnish: eheys
  • German: Integrität
  • Italian: integrità
quality or condition of being complete; pure

Extensive Definition

Integrity is the basing of one's actions on an internally consistent framework of principles. Depth of principles and adherence of each level to the next are key factors. One is said to have integrity to the extent that everything one does is derived from the same core set of values. While those values may change, it is their consistency with each other and with the person's actions that determine one's degree of integrity.
Integrity can be viewed as personal honesty, acting according to one's beliefs and values at all times. It can emphasize the "wholeness" or "intactness" of a moral stance or attitude. Relevant views of wholeness may also emphasize commitment and authenticity.
Integrity can be seen as a virtue in that accountability and moral responsibility are often indicated as necessary tools for maintaining consistency between one's actions and one's principles, methods and measures, especially when an expected result is incongruent with observed outcome.

Evaluating/measuring integrity

Popular discussions of integrity often see the concept as an all-or-nothing affair: one describes an approved person as "having integrity" (as an absolute), but condemns an enemy or a collective enemy organization as "completely lacking in integrity".
English-speakers may measure integrity in non-enumerated units called "scraps", speaking of preserving one's "last scraps of integrity". One deduces that integrity in such situations can appear brittle or fragile — and apt to tarnish or decay. There is nothing of structural integrity.
To put it simply, if you want to live with integrity, do what you say you're going to do, when you say you're going to do it. Be where you say you're going to be, when you say you're going to be there.


The integrity of science (as a process and as a body of knowledge) relies on a set of testing known as the scientific method. To the extent that a proof follows the requirements of the method, one can consider it scientific. The Popperian scientific method includes measures to ensure unbiased testing and the requirement that the hypotheses have falsifiability.

(Tests of) professional integrity

Integrity (honesty) tests aim towards identifying which persons may hide negative or derogatory events from their past (such as doing prison time, getting psychiatric treatment, alcohol problems, etc.) or which persons may cause trouble for an employer. These tests make certain assumptions, namely that such persons report more dishonest behavior, they try to find reasons in order to justify such behavior, they think others more likely to commit crimes (like theft, for example), they exhibit impulsive behavior and tend to think that society should severely punish deviant behavior.
The pretension of such tests to detect fake answers plays a crucial role in this respect, because the naive really believe such outright lies and behave accordingly, reporting their past deviance because they fear that otherwise their answers will reveal it. The more Pollyannaish the answers, the higher the integrity score (cf. loc. cit.). But, try to avoid being 100% Pollyannaish, otherwise recruiters may think you have a low IQ (this only applies to the jobs wherein a high IQ is required).

Other integrities

Disciplines and fields with an interest in integrity include philosophy of action, philosophy of medicine, the mind, cognition, consciousness, and politics.


The philosophy of mathematics bases integrity on consistency of mathematical proof, which one can test weakly or strongly, as part of the process of differentiating it from folk mathematics. Mathematical integrity becomes strengthened through definition as the result of a tautology and where it demonstrably forms a part of a larger and consistent body of mathematics.

External links

Add to all this: "sincere", a derivative concept. From the Latin "sine cere" or "without wax". Ancient artisans sometimes covered cracks in the pottery with wax in a way that could only be detected by bright light. So, a person who is sincere, is one who acts and speaks with integrity, without the need "cover up" anything.
integrity in German: Integrität
integrity in Spanish: Integridad personal
integrity in Malay (macrolanguage): Integriti
integrity in Dutch: Integriteit (persoon)
integrity in Norwegian: Integritet
integrity in Portuguese: Integridade
integrity in Russian: Порядочность
integrity in Simple English: Integrity
integrity in Serbian: Интегритет
integrity in Swedish: Integritet

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

absoluteness, assured probity, blamelessness, character, cleanness, coherence, collectivity, combination, completeness, complex, comprehensiveness, decency, differentiation, differentness, distinctiveness, egohood, elementarity, embodiment, entireness, entirety, erectness, estimableness, exhaustiveness, fairness, forthrightness, fullness, fundamentality, fusion, good character, goodness, high ideals, high principles, high-mindedness, homogeneity, honesty, honor, honorableness, human factor, identity, immaculacy, inclusiveness, incorruptibility, incorruption, individualism, individuality, indivisibility, intactness, integer, integrality, integration, inviolability, irreducibility, irreproachability, irreproachableness, justice, justness, monism, moral excellence, moral strength, morality, nobility, nominalism, nonconformity, omnipresence, oneness, organic unity, particularism, particularity, perfection, personal equation, personal identity, personality, personship, pervasiveness, plainness, plenitude, principle, principles, probity, pureness, purity, rectitude, reputability, respectability, righteousness, self-identity, selfhood, selfness, selfsameness, severity, simpleness, simplicity, singleness, singularity, solidarity, solidification, solidity, soul, soundness, stability, stainlessness, starkness, straightforwardness, thoroughness, togetherness, totality, trustworthiness, ubiquity, unadulteration, undividedness, unification, uniformity, unimpeachability, unimpeachableness, uniqueness, unity, universality, univocity, unmixedness, unsophistication, unspottedness, uprightness, upstandingness, veracity, virtue, virtuousness, whole, wholeness, worthiness
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