hon·​or | \ ˈä-nər How to pronounce honor (audio) \

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 How to pronounce honor (audio) \
honored; honoring\ ˈä-​nə-​riŋ How to pronounce honoring (audio) , 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 How to pronounce honoree (audio) \ noun
honorer \ ˈä-​nər-​ər How to pronounce honorer (audio) \ 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

The only freshman to earn All-Courant honors last season, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore has the tools to be one of the state’s top receivers. Shawn Mcfarland, courant.com, "High school football: Bloomfield returns plenty of firepower, with eyes set on a Class S repeat," 30 Aug. 2019 If anything, his athletic and academic accomplishments (earning academic All-Big Ten honors in 2018) are a reflection of his original dream. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press, "Donovan Peoples-Jones chasing dream at Michigan that isn't just football," 29 Aug. 2019 Nick Amateau shot 34 to earn medalist honors and lead the Cavaliers (1-2), who got a 42 from Jack Hopwood, a 46 from Nathan Lomax, and a 52 from Amelia Horn. baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Carroll Varsity Roundup (Aug. 28): Winters Mill golf sweeps tri-meet," 28 Aug. 2019 The beach player still excelled indoors, earning All-Avocado West League honors for the league champions, who were 33-4 last year. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Torrey Pines senior faces sand in future, hardwood for now," 27 Aug. 2019 Ocean View senior setter Hunter Miller earned All-CIF honors in Division 5. Daily Pilot, "Newport Harbor’s Dayne Chalmers is CIF Southern Section Division 1 Player of the Year," 27 Aug. 2019 The defensive line will likely include seniors Devan Bell and Kilian Trulik, juniors Evan Jernegan (12 tackles and three sacks to earn all-league honors) and Joseph Ramirez. Charles Rich, Glendale News-Press, "Football Preview: Experienced St. Francis looking at big picture," 26 Aug. 2019 McLaughlin was the first true freshman to earn First Team D-II All-America honors since the program started in 1993. Branson Wright, cleveland.com, "Notre Dame College begins season ranked No. 4 in Division II," 26 Aug. 2019 Bush, 34, starred at Helix High School in La Mesa before earning All-American honors twice, a Doak Walker Award and a Heisman Trophy (later forfeited) as a member of the University of Southern California football program. Los Angeles Times, "Hot Property: Football’s Reggie Bush lists his home field in Pacific Palisades," 24 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda for a ceremony honoring the victims of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. Ben Brazil, Daily Pilot, "Hundreds commemorate victims of 9/11 at the Richard Nixon Library," 12 Sep. 2019 Grammy award-winning singer Maxwell was honored Wednesday night by the Congressional Black Caucus for his achievements in the arts. Yesha Callahan, Essence, "Maxwell Brought To Tears While Accepting Achievement Award From Congressional Black Caucus," 12 Sep. 2019 The individuals thus honored by memorials situated around that small body of water made the final cut as the most valued leaders that our country has spawned. Steve West, sun-sentinel.com, "The green lady weeps | Opinion," 12 Sep. 2019 City employees and members of the Glendale police and fire departments gathered on Wednesday morning to honor the victims of 9/11 on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that struck New York City, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. Andy Nguyen, Glendale News-Press, "Glendale honors 9/11 victims with solemn ceremony," 11 Sep. 2019 Goldberg said after a conversation about public school students honoring the victims. Fox News, "9/11 outrage: 'The View' host Whoopi Goldberg slams members of Congress who skipped moment of silence," 11 Sep. 2019 President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump participate in a moment of silence on the South Lawn of the White House on Wednesday, honoring the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Eric Levenson, CNN, "18 years later, Americans stop to remember the September 11 attacks," 11 Sep. 2019 Mets rookie Pete Alonso ordered custom cleats for each of his teammates to honor 9/11 victims, including the first responders, on the tragedy's 18th anniversary on Wednesday. Alaa Abdeldaiem, SI.com, "Pete Alonso Orders Custom Cleats for Mets Teammates to Honor Victims of 9/11," 11 Sep. 2019 The statement sleeves didn’t go without, well, a statement: As Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg’s Senior White House reporter, shared on Twitter, this all happened during a ceremony to honor victims of a terrorist attack that occurred earlier this year. Gina Marinelli, Glamour, "Ivanka Trump Wore Statement Sleeves in Colombia, And It Didn't Go Well," 4 Sep. 2019

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

Noun and Verb

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

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Statistics for honor

Last Updated

2 Sep 2019

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 How to pronounce honor (audio) \

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

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


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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