Usage note

See -or1.


  1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions: a man of honor.
  2. a source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one's family.
  3. high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.
  4. such respect manifested: a memorial in honor of the dead.
  5. high public esteem; fame; glory: He has earned his position of honor.
  6. the privilege of being associated with or receiving a favor from a respected person, group, organization, etc.: to have the honor of serving on a prize jury; I have the honor of introducing this evening's speaker.
  7. Usually honors. evidence, as a special ceremony, decoration, scroll, or title, of high rank, dignity, or distinction: political honors; military honors.
  8. (initial capital letter) a deferential title of respect, especially for judges and mayors (preceded by His, Her, Your, etc.).
  9. honors,
    1. special rank or distinction conferred by a university, college, or school upon a student for eminence in scholarship or success in some particular subject.
    2. an advanced course of study for superior students.Compare honors course.
  10. chastity or purity in a woman.
  11. Also called honor card. Cards.
    1. Bridge.any of the five highest trump cards, as an ace, king, queen, jack, or ten in the trump suit, or any of the four aces in a no-trump contract.Compare honor trick.
    2. Whist.any of the four highest trump cards, as an ace, king, queen, or jack in the trump suit.
  12. Golf. the privilege of teeing off before the other player or side, given after the first hole to the player or side that won the previous hole.
verb (used with object)
  1. to hold in honor or high respect; revere: to honor one's parents.
  2. to treat with honor.
  3. to confer honor or distinction upon: The university honored him with its leadership award.
  4. to worship (the Supreme Being).
  5. to show a courteous regard for: to honor an invitation.
  6. Commerce. to accept or pay (a draft, check, etc.): All credit cards are honored here.
  7. to accept as valid and conform to the request or demands of (an official document).
  8. (in square dancing) to meet or salute with a bow.
  1. of, relating to, or noting honor.
  1. be on/upon one's honor, to accept and acknowledge personal responsibility for one's actions: West Point cadets are on their honor not to cheat on an exam.
  2. do honor to,
    1. to show respect to.
    2. to be a credit to: Such good students would do honor to any teacher.
  3. do the honors, to serve or preside as host, as in introducing people, or carving or serving at table: Father did the honors at the family Thanksgiving dinner.
Also especially British, hon·our.

Origin of honor

1150–1200; (noun) Middle English (h)on(o)ur < Anglo-French (Old French (h)onor, onur) < Latin honōr- (stem of honor, earlier honōs); (v.) Middle English < Anglo-French (h)on(o)urer < Latin honōrāre, derivative of honor
Related formshon·or·er, nounhon·or·less, adjectiveo·ver·hon·or, verb (used with object)re·hon·or, verb (used with object)self-hon·ored, adjectiveun·hon·ored, adjective

Synonyms for honor

Synonym study

1. Honor, honesty, integrity, sincerity refer to the highest moral principles and the absence of deceit or fraud. Honor denotes a fine sense of, and a strict conformity to, what is considered morally right or due: a high sense of honor; on one's honor. Honesty denotes the presence of probity and particularly the absence of deceit or fraud, especially in business dealings: uncompromising honesty and trustworthiness. Integrity indicates a soundness of moral principle that no power or influence can impair: a man of unquestioned integrity and dependability. Sincerity implies absence of dissimulation or deceit, and a strong adherence to truth: His sincerity was evident in every word. 3. Honor, consideration, distinction refer to the regard in which one is held by others. Honor suggests a combination of liking and respect: His colleagues held him in great honor. Consideration suggests honor because of proved worth: a man worthy of the highest consideration. Distinction suggests particular honor because of qualities or accomplishments: She achieved distinction as a violinist at an early age.

Antonyms for honor

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for honour

Contemporary Examples of honour

Historical Examples of honour

  • Festivals in honour of Zeus, because he delivered men from misfortunes and dangers.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • This festival, in honour of Dionysus, was observed with great splendour.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Ceremonies at Eleusis, in honour of Demeter, observed with great secrecy.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • This was a common practice during the festival of Thargelia, in honour of Phœbus.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • King Henry often looked in on these matches, and did honour to the winners.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

British Dictionary definitions for honour


US honor

  1. personal integrity; allegiance to moral principles
    1. fame or glory
    2. a person or thing that wins this for anotherhe is an honour to the school
  2. (often plural) great respect, regard, esteem, etc, or an outward sign of this
  3. (often plural) high or noble rank
  4. a privilege or pleasureit is an honour to serve you
  5. a woman's virtue or chastity
    1. bridge pokerany of the top five cards in a suit or any of the four aces at no trumps
    2. whistany of the top four cards
  6. golf the right to tee off first
  7. do honour to
    1. to pay homage to
    2. to be a credit to
  8. do the honours
    1. to serve as host or hostess
    2. to perform a social act, such as carving meat, proposing a toast, etc
  9. honour bright British school slang an exclamation pledging honour
  10. in honour bound under a moral obligation
  11. in honour of out of respect for
  12. on one's honour or upon one's honour on the pledge of one's word or good name
verb (tr)
  1. to hold in respect or esteem
  2. to show courteous behaviour towards
  3. to worship
  4. to confer a distinction upon
  5. to accept and then pay when due (a cheque, draft, etc)
  6. to keep (one's promise); fulfil (a previous agreement)
  7. to bow or curtsy to (one's dancing partner)
See also honours
Derived Formshonourer or US honorer, nounhonourless or US honorless, adjective

Word Origin for honour

C12: from Old French onor, from Latin honor esteem


  1. (preceded by Your, His, or Her)
    1. a title used to or of certain judges
    2. (in Ireland) a form of address in general use


noun, verb
  1. the US spelling of honour
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 honour

chiefly British English spelling of honor; also see -or. Related: Honoured; honouring; honours.



c.1200, "glory, renown, fame earned," from Anglo-French honour, Old French honor (Modern French honneur), from Latin honorem (nominative honos, later honor) "honor, dignity, office, reputation," of unknown origin. Till 17c., honour and honor were equally frequent; the former now preferred in England, the latter in U.S. by influence of Noah Webster's spelling reforms. Meaning "a woman's chastity" first attested late 14c. Honors "distinction in scholarship" attested by 1782. Honor roll in the scholastic sense attested by 1872. To do the honors (1650s) originally meant the customary civilities and courtesies at a public entertainment, etc.



mid-13c., honuren, "to do honor to," from Old French honorer, from Latin honorare, from honor (see honor (n.)). In the commercial sense of "accept a bill due, etc.," it is recorded from 1706. Related: Honored; honoring.

A custom more honoured in the breach than the observance. Whoever will look up the passage (Hamlet I. iv. 16) will see that it means, beyond a doubt, a custom that one deserves more honour for breaking than for keeping: but it is often quoted in the wrong & very different sense of a dead letter or rule more often broken than kept. [Fowler]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with honour


In addition to the idiom beginning with honor

  • honor bound

also see:

  • do the honors
  • in honor of
  • on one's honor
  • word of honor
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.