hon·​or | \ˈä-nər \

Definition of honor 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : good name or public esteem : reputation

b : a showing of usually merited respect : recognition pay honor to our founder

2 : privilege had the honor of joining the captain for dinner

3 : a person of superior standing now used especially as a title for a holder of high office if Your Honor please

4 : one whose worth brings respect or fame : credit an honor to the profession

5 : the center point of the upper half of an armorial escutcheon

6 : an evidence or symbol of distinction: such as

a : an exalted title or rank

b(1) : badge, decoration

(2) : a ceremonial rite or observance buried with full military honors

c : an award in a contest or field of competition

d archaic : a gesture of deference : bow

e honors plural

(1) : an academic distinction conferred on a superior student

(2) : a course of study for superior students supplementing or replacing a regular course

7 : chastity, purity fought fiercely for her honor and her life— Barton Black

8a : a keen sense of ethical conduct : integrity a man of honor

b : one's word given as a guarantee of performance on my honor, I will be there

9 honors plural : social courtesies or civilities extended by a host asked her to do the honors

10a(1) : an ace, king, queen, jack, or ten especially of the trump suit in bridge

(2) : the scoring value of honors held in bridge usually used in plural

b : the privilege of playing first from the tee in golf


hon·​or | \ˈä-nər \
honored; honoring\ˈä-​nə-​riŋ, ˈän-​riŋ \

Definition of honor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to regard or treat (someone) with admiration and respect : to regard or treat with honor

b : to give special recognition to : to confer honor on

2a : to live up to or fulfill the terms of honor a commitment

b : to accept as payment honor a credit card

3 : to salute with a bow in square dancing

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Other Words from honor


honoree \ˌä-​nə-​ˈrē \ noun
honorer \ˈä-​nər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for honor

Synonyms: Noun

honesty, integrity, probity, rectitude, righteousness, uprightness

Synonyms: Verb

fete (or fête), recognize

Antonyms: Noun

baseness, dishonor, lowness

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Choose the Right Synonym for honor


honor, homage, reverence, deference mean respect and esteem shown to another. honor may apply to the recognition of one's right to great respect or to any expression of such recognition. the nomination is an honor homage adds the implication of accompanying praise. paying homage to Shakespeare reverence implies profound respect mingled with love, devotion, or awe. great reverence for my father deference implies a yielding or submitting to another's judgment or preference out of respect or reverence. showed no deference to their elders

synonyms see in addition honesty

Examples of honor in a Sentence


Many of the Persians, despite belonging to the Barbarian Other, come off with honor and dignity in his pages, even during the final narrative of Xerxes' invasion. — Peter Green, New York Review of Books, 15 May 2008 Whoever footed the bill, the episode gave Marsh a taste of the grand life she yearned for. Presiding at balls in her honor and making entrances at lavish picnics were distinctions she could never have dreamed of back home. — Edmund S. Morgan et al., New York Review of Books, 27 Sept. 2007 "As I was saying," he said, smiling at the sea of students before him, all of whom were still gazing transfixed at Mad-Eye Moody, "we are to have the honor of hosting a very exciting event over the coming months, an event that has not been held for over a century." — J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, 2000 These people deserve to be treated with honor. The team brought honor to the school. The building was named in honor of the city's founder. He was prepared to fight to defend his family's honor. She has a keen sense of honor. He would not do it as a matter of honor. He's a man of honor. It was an honor to be invited.


Cape Ann, an hour's drive north of Boston, is far sleepier than the famous elbow that bounds the southern reach of Massachusetts Bay.  … There aren't any schmaltzy songs about my granite cape, which was named to honor a queen, thank you very much. — Anita Diamant, National Geographic Traveler, September 2005 But by talking with hikers and trail builders in the years since, and tracing the history these stone piles carry with them, I would learn that cairns are more than just interesting curiosities. I would discover that cairns honor the dead, save lives, mark boundaries, protect vegetation, claim territory, and reflect the seasons. — Barbara Claire Kasselmann, AMC Outdoors, May 1999 Ricketts left for Mexico to study typhus in July of that year, where it killed him in 1910 at the age of thirty-nine. To honor his memory, the organisms that cause typhus and sundry spotted fevers were dubbed rickettsia in 1916. — Wayne Biddle, A Field Guide to Germs, 1995 "Elegant Attire is a tradition in the Saratoga Clubhouse," says a sign outside the clubhouse. "Ladies and gentlemen who continue to honor this tradition (e.g., dresses, suits or sport jackets) are always appreciated." It is not easy to arbitrate good taste, particularly when the temperature is soaring toward the 90's on a humid day. — George Vecsey, New York Times, 21 Aug. 1994 When we got married, we promised to love and honor each other. We were honored with the queen's presence. She has been honored by several organizations for her charitable works. We need to find an appropriate way to honor these brave people. They have established a scholarship as a way to honor his memory. They are accused of failing to honor their debts.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But neocons both inside and outside the direct orbit of the Standard have the distinct honor of being the conservative faction that has demonstrated the most intellectual integrity in the Trump era. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "The Weekly Standard’s demise is a reminder that there are some ideas worse than Trumpism," 5 Dec. 2018 While presenting her with the honor at the awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss decided to share a story about her audition process. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Emilia Clarke Did the Robot During One of Her 'Game of Thrones' Auditions," 27 Oct. 2018 The honor is denoted by a deep blue sash, which Camilla was wearing at the banquet yesterday. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kate Middleton Just Received an Extremely Important Honor from the Queen," 24 Oct. 2018 During the red carpet, Camila posted an Instagram revealing who DID get the honor of taking her to the 2018 American Music Awards. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Camila Cabello Walked The AMAs Red Carpet with a Guy Who Is NOT Her Boyfriend," 10 Oct. 2018 Her husband, Mike Fisher, their 3-year-old son Isaiah Michael, and Underwood's CMA co-star Brad Paisley were all present to see Underwood receive the prestigious honor. Eileen Reslen, Country Living, "Simon Cowell Predicted Carrie Underwood Would Become the Best-Selling 'American Idol' Winner," 20 Sep. 2018 The shot was good enough to earn the honor of Kia Shot of the Day. Angel Guerrero, sacbee, "Sacramento's Natalie Gulbis withdraws from celebrity golf tournament," 10 July 2018 The win for Legend makes history: In addition to being one of the youngest EGOT winners in history—EGOT meaning a winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony—Legend is also the first African-American man to win this particular grand slam of honors. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "John Legend Just Became the First African-American Man to Win an EGOT," 10 Sep. 2018 Two Central Florida teachers are among five finalists who will be vying for Florida’s Teacher of the Year honors at a gala ceremony tonight. Leslie Postal, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Florida to announce Teacher of the Year tonight," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But there is a pride here in making things beautifully, and a need to honor the past. Kyre Chenven, Condé Nast Traveler, "For Sardinia’s Wild Side, Head to Sulcis," 12 Oct. 2018 More than 2,000 people, including about 700 uniformed officers, turned out to honor Capt. Max Bayer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Mourners, including 700 uniformed officers, turn out to honor firefighter killed in blast," 14 July 2018 Police officer Brett Chism was recently honored by the Snellville City Council for winning a National Criminal Enforcement Association award for making the largest seizure of MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, in the country in 2017. Karen Huppertz, ajc, "Snellville officer given national award for record MDMA bust," 13 July 2018 Hunt Valley earned 2017 Design Excellence Recognition from the American Society of Golf Course Architects for the renovation — one of only 11 courses nationwide honored by the program. Brent Kennedy, baltimoresun.com, "Hunt Valley Country Club," 11 July 2018 Indiana Jones honored by zoo: Harrison Ford wins award for wildlife conservation The speed limit is 45 mph, according to a probable cause affidavit. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Driver is charged in Speedway crash that killed mother and daughter," 10 July 2018 Southwest Airlines unveiled its annual Shark Week planes on Monday to honor the 30-year anniversary of Discovery Channel's popular summertime programming. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "Southwest planes get some teeth to honor Discovery Channel's Shark Week," 9 July 2018 Family, friends and strangers who wanted to honor the soldier gathered at the public funeral service Saturday at St. Juan Diego Church in Chandler. Brenna Bailey, azcentral, "Fallen Chandler soldier, Sgt. Alexander Conrad, was a 'hero,' brother says," 30 June 2018 In a jet-black Versace suit embellished with Swarovski crystal fringe, Musgraves honored the tradition of Western wear while presenting a very different take on glamour. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "In Versace, Kacey Musgraves Gave the CMAs Its Fashion Moment," 15 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'honor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of honor


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for honor


Middle English, from Anglo-French onur, honur, from Latin honos, honor


see honor entry 1

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Learn More about honor

Statistics for honor

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for honor

The first known use of honor was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for honor



English Language Learners Definition of honor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: respect that is given to someone who is admired

: good reputation : good quality or character as judged by other people

: high moral standards of behavior



English Language Learners Definition of honor (Entry 2 of 2)

: to regard or treat (someone) with respect and admiration : to show or give honor to (someone)

: to show admiration for (someone or something) in a public way : to give a public honor to (someone or something)

: to do what is required by (something, such as a promise or a contract)


hon·​or | \ˈä-nər \

Kids Definition of honor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : good character as judged by other people : reputation

2 : outward respect : recognition The dinner is in honor of the new coach.

3 : privilege sense 1 You will have the honor of leading the parade.

4 used especially as a title for an official of high rank Please welcome His Honor, the mayor.

5 : a person whose character and accomplishments bring respect or fame You are an honor to your profession.

6 : evidence or a symbol of great respect She's won many national honors.

7 : high moral standards of behavior He's a man of honor.


honored; honoring

Kids Definition of honor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : respect entry 2 sense 1 Honor your parents.

2 : to recognize and show admiration for publicly He was honored at a special ceremony.

3 : to live up to or fulfill the requirements of She didn't honor her promise.

honored; honoring

Legal Definition of honor 

1 : to accept and pay the bank honored the check

2 : to purchase or discount (a draft) in compliance with a letter of credit

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More from Merriam-Webster on honor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with honor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for honor

Spanish Central: Translation of honor

Nglish: Translation of honor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of honor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on honor

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having a pattern of small flowers

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