ku·​do ˈkü-(ˌ)dō How to pronounce kudo (audio)
plural kudos ˈkü-(ˌ)dōz How to pronounce kudo (audio)
: award, honor
a score of honorary degrees and … other kudosTime
: compliment, praise
rarely hear that kind of kudo to men anymoreEllen Goodman
Is kudo a word?: Usage Guide

Some commentators hold that since kudos is a singular word it cannot be used as a plural and that the word kudo is impossible. But kudo does exist; it is simply one of the most recent words created by back-formation from another word misunderstood as a plural. Kudos was introduced into English in the 19th century; it was used in contexts where a reader unfamiliar with Greek could not be sure whether it was singular or plural. By the 1920s it began to appear as a plural, and about 25 years later kudo began to appear. It may have begun as a misunderstanding, but then so did cherry and pea.

Examples of kudo in a Sentence

an honorary degree from her alma mater that is simply the latest kudo for an outstanding career in journalism a kudo is in order for the way the young people acquitted themselves at their first formal dance
Recent Examples on the Web But, as was the case with the war in Ukraine, President Biden isn’t getting much personal kudos for his handling of the crisis. Nathaniel Rakich, ABC News, 24 Oct. 2023 Advertisement The kudos for rescue by Badet keep getting bigger. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 Sep. 2023 That hadn’t even occurred to me, so big kudos to MESSY. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 29 Sep. 2023 Last year, Venice boasted a remarkably large crop of Arab-language features, but a strong Cannes 2023 selection of Arabic cinema that claimed kudos in various sections of the French fest left the Biennale with a picked over selection. Alissa Simon, Variety, 4 Sep. 2023 Printed with palm trees and surfer girls, the cheeky shirt injected some levity into an otherwise-serious outfit (kudos to Corrin and their stylist, Harry Lambert). Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 3 Oct. 2023 With a contraption that would have earned him kudos from MacGyver, Schneider managed to track the transit of an exoplanet in the binary star system HD 189733, a type of observation that had escaped even professional astronomers until 2002. IEEE Spectrum, 3 Oct. 2023 Not to be outdone, Seth MacFarlane earned kudos for donating at least $6 million to the Entertainment Community Fund to help workers impacted by the strikes. Michael Schneider, Variety, 29 Sep. 2023 The mute comic, who uses the text-to-speech function on his phone to deliver his stand-up routine, earned kudos from Klum. USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'kudo.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


back-formation from kudos (taken as a plural)

First Known Use

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of kudo was in 1926

Dictionary Entries Near kudo

Cite this Entry

“Kudo.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kudo. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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