Etymology (Meaning of Words)/use of word 'candid'


Back in the 1960's, British TV had a programme called 'Candid Camera' in which the unsuspecting public were secretly filmed in various funny scenarios.
But the word candid is defined as meaning openness, honesty, being straightforward. So the word seems to mean opposite things. Any ideas why?

Hello, and welcome to the weekend,
     'Candid Camera' appeared on U.S.television for many years as well.     
      Well before that time, the word 'candid' had come to be used in connection with the field of photography.  A candid  photograph was one taken when its subjects were unposed and off guard.
      You remember that the TV show 'Candid Camera' planted hidden cameras to capture unsuspecting people in unguarded moments.

     On page 121 of Websters Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary we find the same definition for 'candid' which you found but with the following addition:  'relating to photography of subjects acting naturally or spontaneously without being posed.'
     On the same page we find:  'candid camera':  a usually small camera equipped with a fast lens and used for taking informal photographs of unposed subjects often without their knowledge.

     Word definitions evolve over the years and I would say that that was the case with 'candid'.

    I hope that this is helpful.

    The best to you always,  Carol P.  

Etymology (Meaning of Words)

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Carol Pozefsky


Etymology: The origins of English words and phrases. Anchor/Reporter NBC and CBS Networks. News Director 3 Regional Radio Stations.

©2016 All rights reserved.