Integrity is lacking – in adjectives

Betsy PickleOpinion

For years, I’ve been searching for an adjective that conveys the richness of the noun “integrity.”


I don’t think it exists.

My friend Merriam-Webster’s thesaurus lists several synonyms for integrity: character, decency, goodness, honesty, morality, probity, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness. In my opinion, integrity is the sum total of all of those, but no single one actually can stand as an equal to integrity. Rectitude and probity probably come closest, but they just don’t have the magic of integrity.

The words listed by M-W as “related” to integrity, i.e., adjectives, are even less satisfactory: high-mindedness, honor, incorruptibility, irreproachability, etc.

My quest always starts afresh during election years. Campaigns like to claim that their candidate is a man – er, person – of integrity. That tactic often backfires as some skeleton breaks out of a closet.

Maybe integrity is so rare that lexicographers decided it was pointless to come up with an adjective. I find that sad. But I’ll keep looking for it as Knoxville’s city elections heat up.

I wish ill upon no one, but color me curious: Who are Jeff Bezos’ primary heirs? His four kids? Partner Lauren Sanchez?

Bezos is heading into suborbital space this morning aboard the launch vehicle the New Shepard, along with his brother, Mark Bezos; 82-year-old aviation pioneer Wally Funk; and 18-year-old Dutch hedge-fund scion Oliver Daemen. It’ll be an 11-minute flight operated by “autonomous systems.” I think that means Hal is driving.

Bezos has already handed over the reins of Amazon and transitioned into the role of “executive chairman.” His goal is to make his rocket company, Blue Origin, a successful commercial space-travel venture.

Good for him. I’m just not sure I’d head into space with a guy whose surname basically means “demon.”

Speaking of demons, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is playing this weekend at the Tennessee Theatre – 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Sunday. I remember how much I loved the movie when it came out in 1981; I’ve watched it countless times since.

When it finally came to the Park Theatre (or was it Studio One by then?) on Magnolia Avenue, I urged my parents to go see it. I was excited to hear their reaction. Dad quickly took the wind out of my sails.

“What’s the big deal? I saw this every Saturday for 10 cents when I was a kid.”

So I guess in one sense, Steven Spielberg accomplished what he set out to achieve. Sigh.

Betsy Pickle is a veteran reporter and editor who occasionally likes to share her opinions with KnoxTNToday readers.

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