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

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 The deathbed promise made was to Petitet’s mother, and there are indeed a couple of visits to the cemetery in her honor — but the story would have worked almost as well without it. Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Petitet': Film Review," 11 July 2018 Beyoncé and Jay-Z are heading to South Africa later this year to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela and headline the Global Citizen Festival in his honor. Libby Hill, latimes.com, "Beyoncé, Jay-Z and more set to headline Nelson Mandela celebration in Johannesburg," 9 July 2018 The new fire apparatus named in his honor replaces a 2008 fire engine. Jerry Fallstrom, OrlandoSentinel.com, "New Clermont firetruck to be dedicated to firefighter who died at 32 in 2016," 9 July 2018 In Atlanta, Jackson’s sorority sisters wore white in her honor. Ernie Suggs, ajc, "Sorority vigil held for Maleka Jackson, Atlanta woman killed in Bahamas boat accident," 8 July 2018 In honor of his wife Florence, memorial donations may be made to the National MS Society, 733 3rd Ave. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "Vito F. DiDonno," 13 July 2018 The Nacho Fries' have returned in honor of the 25th anniversary of the sci-fi action film Demolition Man. Olivia Harrison, refinery29.com, "Rejoice! Nacho Fries Are Officially Back At Taco Bell," 12 July 2018 Back in May, the royal family released portraits of the princess with her baby brother in honor of her third birthday. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Princess Charlotte Tells Paparazzi "You're Not Coming" at Prince Louis' Christening," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The 21-year-old Louisville native was honoring slain Louisville Metro Police Department Officer Nick Rodman on his truck. Jason Hoffman, Cincinnati.com, "At Kentucky Speedway, NCWTS Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 drivers hope home cooking pays off," 12 July 2018 One of the world's oldest television awards, the Rose d'Or honors international TV programming in multiple categories. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, "Rose d'Or TV Festival to Honor Joanna Lumley With Lifetime Achievement Award," 12 July 2018 That event, which honored the Queen's birthday, also included a flypast above the royal residence. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle Wears Custom Dior to the RAF 100th Anniversary Celebrations," 10 July 2018 Dublin’s Croke Park, the heart of the GAA, was closed by the authorities, but the local women honored the day by closing Jones Road outside the park and playing a wild game of camogie in the street. Charles P. Pierce, SI.com, "Trump Has Made the NFL His Punching Bag. The League’s Best Response Is Defiance," 9 July 2018 Societies, universities, and Colorado honored Sabin. Eliza Mcgraw, Smithsonian, "Florence Sabin Pioneered Her Way in Medical Science, Then Made Sure Other Women Could Do the Same," 6 July 2018 In three short tales, Philip C. Stead honors the gentle fascinations of young childhood, when even a small event can seem like a big occasion. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, "Children’s Books: Meeting the People in the Paintings," 5 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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Statistics for honor

Last Updated

2 Sep 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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a magnificent or impressive array

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