hon·​or·​ary | \ˈä-nə-ˌrer-ē \

Definition of honorary 

1a : having or conferring distinction an honorary engineering society

b : commemorative an honorary plaque

2 : dependent on honor or a keen sense of ethical conduct for fulfillment an honorary obligation

3a : conferred or elected in recognition of achievement or service without the usual prerequisites or obligations an honorary degree an honorary member

b : unpaid, voluntary an honorary chairman

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Other Words from honorary

honorarily \ˌä-​nə-​ˈrer-​ə-​lē \ adverb
honorary noun

Examples of honorary in a Sentence

He was awarded an honorary degree. He's an honorary member of the club. He is the honorary president of the commission.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Cheryl became an honorary serpent and coupled up with Toni, while legally emancipating herself from her mother and taking control of Thistlehouse. Jessica Radloff, Glamour, "Here's What's Going to Happen This Season of Riverdale," 10 Oct. 2018 The end of season 2 sees some relief for Cheryl, however, as she is made an honorary Serpent, getting her own red Serpent jacket. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Everything That Happened On "Riverdale" Season 2," 8 Oct. 2018 As the series continues, Legend makes guest appearances as an honorary headband commentator. Emily Wang, Allure, "Chrissy Teigen's "Headband of the Day" Is My Favorite Thing on Instagram," 10 Aug. 2018 And, this wasn't some honorary degree that universities occassionally give to celebrities. Matt Young, Houston Chronicle, "Former Rockets star Yao Ming fulfills promise, gets college degree," 13 July 2018 Six days after coach Jim Harbaugh asked Webber to be an honorary Michigan football captain for the upcoming season, Rose and Webber have exchanged jabs yet again. Jenna West, SI.com, "Jalen Rose Calls Out Chris Webber as Fab Five Beef Heats Up Again," 28 June 2018 The University System of Maryland joins other higher education institutions in revoking Cosby’s honorary degrees. Lauren Lumpkin, baltimoresun.com, "Three Maryland universities to revoke Bill Cosby's honorary degrees," 22 June 2018 One day in 2015, Stony Brook awarded honorary doctorates to Mr. Wang and to the singer Billy Joel. James R. Hagerty, WSJ, "Charles Wang Found Wealth and Controversy in Computer Industry," 26 Oct. 2018 Never really graduated and then got an honorary doctorate. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Full Q&A: ‘Will & Grace’ co-star Sean Hayes on Recode Decode," 22 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'honorary.' 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 honorary

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for honorary

Latin honorarius, from honor

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Statistics for honorary

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for honorary

The first known use of honorary was in 1606

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English Language Learners Definition of honorary

: given as a sign of honor or achievement

: regarded as one of a group although not officially elected or included

: holding a position for which no payment is given : not paid


hon·​or·​ary | \ˈä-nə-ˌrer-ē \

Kids Definition of honorary

: given or done as an honor They made him an honorary member of the club.

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More from Merriam-Webster on honorary

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for honorary

Spanish Central: Translation of honorary

Nglish: Translation of honorary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of honorary for Arabic Speakers

Comments on honorary

What made you want to look up honorary? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

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