SOMEONE who is as honest as the day is long is very trustworthy. This is one way of saying the person in consideration can always be depended upon. We know that a twenty-four hour day is just that, nothing more and nothing less. Oh, depending upon the time of year and weather condition the daylight of a twenty-four hour day may vary, but not the complete period of a day.
There was a time when two people doing business would seal their transaction with a hand shake, in the past a man’s word was his bond. Now days you better make sure it is all written down in legal terminology and signed by both parties with witnesses. Politicians when running for public office often promise their constituents the moon, but are short on delivery after the election.
One concept of the expression: “Honest as the day is long” came about was that in the past a day seemed like a long period of time. Now days a day is pasted before you know it. Things that you anticipated doing has not got done. We might be inclined to declare: “Where did the day go?” With that in mind someone may make us a promise that is soon forgotten by him. If you bring up what that person had promised they may suddenly have a lapse of memory. It is as if he doesn’t have the foggiest idea of what you are talking about.
THE COLUMBIA World of Quotations provides the following information on the expression:
“Such is the labor which the American Congress exists to protect,-honest, manly toil,-honest as the day is long,-that makes his bread taste sweet, and keeps society sweet,-which all men respect and have consecrated; one of the sacred band, doing the needful but irksome drudgery.” (Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. “Life without Principle”, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 4, p. 458, Houghton Mifflin.
Dub Mowery is a Gospel preacher in the Church of Christ. Presently he serves as full time evangelist for the Pittsburg Church of Christ. A native of Southeast Oklahoma, he is the author of Colloquial Sayings & Expressions (Morris Publishing, 2008)