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

Nominations are certainly an honor, but shiny trophies don’t hurt. Michael O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmys: How Netflix Edged HBO and What It Means for This Year's Race," 12 July 2018 Assembling a collection of the nation’s most talented college baseball players and participating in America’s pastime, while representing this wonderful country is an honor. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville coach Dan McDonnell to lead USA Baseball collegiate team," 6 July 2018 In honor of the Fourth of July and their commitment to revitalizing small town America, the proud new parents and stars of HGTV’s Home Town have compiled a list of their favorite products made right here in the USA. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Erin and Ben Napier Share Their Favorite American-Made Products Just in Time for the Fourth of July," 28 June 2018 In a nearby industrial zone is GangaGen Inc., named in honor of the founder’s mother, who was killed by an infection. Ari Altstedter, Bloomberg.com, "The Startups Waging War Against Superbugs," 25 June 2018 But having your portrait painted by a genuine artist is still an honor reserved for the rich, the powerful or the friends of art students. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Museum Ties Portraits of the Wealthy to Their Slaveholding Pasts," 21 June 2018 On Instagram, a proud mother (@mamarazzi_t) shared a photo of daughter recreating Mrs. Obama’s regal portrait in honor of Juneteenth. Michelle Darrisaw, Essence.com, "So Sweet! Young Black Girl Flawlessly Recreates Michelle Obama’s Official Portrait," 21 June 2018 The whole day felt like tribute to the Duchess and the Queen's budding relationship—for one, Kate Middleton, Prince William, and Prince Harry haven't yet had the honor of riding in the royal train. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Wore Earrings Gifted to Her by Queen Elizabeth II on Their First Joint Royal Outing," 14 June 2018 An ice-cream flavor in his honor, a pizza named after him, queues to buy his shirt: For some, Cristiano Ronaldo is as important as the Pope. Daniella Matar, chicagotribune.com, "Ronaldo mania inspires 'CR7' ice cream, pizza," 13 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Also, the company released 17 new dolls in March honoring women, including pilot Amelia Earhart, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and painter Frida Kahlo. Lauren Castle, azcentral, "Valley of the dolls: Barbie collectors hit Phoenix resort scene for 2018 convention," 13 July 2018 The brand regularly releases leggings influenced by art, music, travel, and culture, honoring artists from Basquiat to Bowie in their prints. Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "You Can Now Buy Workout Leggings Inspired by J.Lo's Iconic Versace Dress," 12 July 2018 CBS New York reports a mass Sunday morning honored 61-year-old Audie Trinidad of Teaneck and his daughters, 20-year-old Kaitlyn, 17-year-old Danna and 13-year-old twins Melissa and Allison. CBS News, "New details emerge after N.J. mom survives crash that killed husband, 4 daughters," 9 July 2018 Parents are interviewed and honored again each Memorial Day. Hilary Decent, Naperville Sun, "Decent: Tribute to fallen soldier keeps his memory alive," 6 July 2018 Sheeran honors a late fan Ed Sheeran paid tribute to fan Melody Driscoll on Wednesday, who died at age 11. Christina Schoellkopf, latimes.com, "Hashtag Highlights: Comic-Con swap, Jay-Z becomes a meme," 6 July 2018 In the past the country's leaders honored in word and deed the media's crucial role in American society. The Washington Post Editorial Staff, star-telegram, "An attack on journalism itself," 29 June 2018 For six decades, Glamour has honored its College Women of the Year— or CWOTY: an award that focuses on young honorees who are already changemakers in their communities. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "How a Former Glamour College Woman of the Year Helped Break the Alice Johnson Story," 13 July 2018 This free festival on Saturday honors the common tern, a species that, despite its name, is listed as threatened in New York State. Laurel Graeber, New York Times, "9 Things to Do With Your Kids in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 12 July 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

14 Oct 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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Comments on honor

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