Also hon·or·if·i·cal. doing or conferring honor.
conveying honor, as a title or a grammatical form used in speaking to or about a superior, elder, etc.


(in certain languages, as Chinese and Japanese) a class of forms used to show respect, especially in direct address.
a title or term of respect.

Origin of honorific

First recorded in 1640–50, honorific is from the Latin word honōrificus honor-making. See honor, -i-, -fic
Related formshon·or·if·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for honorific



showing or conferring honour or respect
  1. (of a pronoun, verb inflection, etc) indicating the speaker's respect for the addressee or his acknowledgment of inferior status
  2. (as noun)a Japanese honorific
Derived Formshonorifically, adverb
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 honorific

1640s, from Latin honorificus "that which does honor," from honorem (see honor (n.)) + -ficus "making," from stem of facere "make, do" (see factitious). As a noun, by 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper