Candor vs Candid
There are many pairs of words in English language causing a lot of trouble for those whose mother tongue is not English. One such pair is candor and candid, which though are seemingly innocuous. Of the two, candor or candour, as it is spelled in British English, is an older word that means being honest or straightforward in speech and attitude. Candid is a later word that is very close in meaning to candor. It is an adjective describing the quality of a person. So a candid person is one who is bold and frank. However, there are subtle differences between the two words that need to be highlighted.
Candor is a noun, whereas candid is an adjective, describing an attribute of a person. Candor has both French as well as Latin roots, and in both languages it means a quality of being open and honest. Frankness is what comes closest to candor in meaning. Though being a noun, it does not mean you can call a person candor. A person reflecting candour is one with quality of honesty, impartiality, frankness, outspokenness, straight forwardness, directness, sincerity and forthrightness.
Suppose you have just had a haircut, and want an honest assessment of your looks, you would ask your friends to be candid in their views, and not diplomatic. You want absolute truth as it is a matter of great importance to you, and it is only a straightforward, frank and honest opinion that would tell you how you look in your haircut. If someone is candid, you know that what he is saying is coming straight from his heart, and he does not think twice before speaking. Candid is a word commonly used in photography to refer to a photo that is honest in its expression as it does not try to hide or conceal anything, and reflects the truth in its totality.
The reason why people confuse between candour and candid is because of a word, candidness that has same meaning as candour. A person can be candid, but he has candidness or candour, which clearly tells us how to make the best use of these two words. Thus, replacing candour with candidness is possible, but never make the mistake of using candid in place of candour.
Take a look at the following sentences.
John was candid about his dislike of poverty and did not try to be diplomatic about his aversion.
The jury was impressed by the candour of the convict as he did not show any remorse for his act.
Difference Between Candor and Candid
• Candour is a noun whereas candid is an adjective
• Both describe nearly same qualities of a person though they are not replaceable and one cannot use candid in place of candour which can be replaced with candidness.