1. lack or loss of honor; disgraceful or dishonest character or conduct.
  2. disgrace; ignominy; shame: His arrest brought dishonor to his family.
  3. an indignity; insult: to do someone a dishonor.
  4. a cause of shame or disgrace: He is a dishonor to his family.
  5. Commerce. failure or refusal of the drawee or intended acceptor of a bill of exchange or note to accept it or, if it is accepted, to pay and retire it.
verb (used with object)
  1. to deprive of honor; disgrace; bring reproach or shame on.
  2. Commerce. to fail or refuse to honor or pay (a draft, check, etc.).
  3. to rape or seduce.
Also especially British, dis·hon·our.

Origin of dishonor

1250–1300; Middle English dishonour (noun), dishonouren (v.) < Anglo-French, Old French; see dis-1, honor
Related formsdis·hon·or·er, nounun·dis·hon·ored, adjective

Synonym study

1, 2. See disgrace. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for dishonour

Contemporary Examples of dishonour

Historical Examples of dishonour

  • The company, of course, failed, which meant ruin and dishonour.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • It sounds like an invitation to dishonour myself in the eyes of my ancestors.'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • For me, the next morning, I could almost have said, 'I was sown in dishonour and raised in glory.'

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • Perhaps, if the dishonour had been done to her, but it was done long before her day.

    Howards End

    E. M. Forster

  • What do you suppose must have been my feelings, after this rejection, at the thought of my own dishonour?

British Dictionary definitions for dishonour


US dishonor

verb (tr)
  1. to treat with disrespect
  2. to fail or refuse to pay (a cheque, bill of exchange, etc)
  3. to cause the disgrace of (a woman) by seduction or rape
  1. a lack of honour or respect
  2. a state of shame or disgrace
  3. a person or thing that causes a loss of honourhe was a dishonour to his family
  4. an insult; affrontwe did him a dishonour by not including him
  5. refusal or failure to accept or pay a commercial paper
Derived Formsdishonourer or US dishonorer, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for dishonour

chiefly British English spelling of dishonor; also see -or. Related: Dishonoured; dishonouring; dishonourable; dishonourably.



mid-13c., from Old French deshonorer (12c.), from Late Latin dishonorare (reformed from classical Latin dehonestare), from dis- "opposite of" (see dis-) + honorare (see honor). Related: Dishonored; dishonoring.



c.1300, from Old French deshonor (12c.); see dishonor (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper