Honor vs. honour

Honor is the American spelling of the word meaning, among things, (1) great respect or recognition, and (2) to show respect for. Honour is the preferred spelling outside the U.S.

The distinction extends to most derivatives of the word, including honored/honoured, honoring/honouring, honorable/honourable, and honoree/honouree. But there are exceptions: throughout the English-speaking world, honorific—meaning showing or conferring respect—is spelled without the u, and so are honorary and honorarium.

Example

U.S.

A ceremony in Iran to honor the Academy Award-winning director Asghar Farhadi was canceled. [New York Times]

The Wizards will be honoring outstanding teams and individuals. [Denver Post]

The box-office hit “The Help” took top honors Friday at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards. [Los Angeles Times]

Outside the U.S.

Iran has cancelled a ceremony in honour of the country’s Oscar-winning director. [Daily Express]

U.S. President Barack Obama borrowed the 1963 work for a 2011 event honouring the still-living Ruby Bridges. [Winnipeg Free Press]

Otago took the honours on the opening day of their fifth-round Plunket Shield match against Auckland at University Oval yesterday. [Stuff.co.nz]

Derivatives without the u

Four leading South Africans are to receive honorary doctorates from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) in April. [Independent Online]

They receive no salary from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office but some are paid a small honorarium of around £2,000. [BBC]

Otokoyaku speak in the brusque male form of the honorific Japanese language. [The Australian]

About Grammarist
Contact | Privacy policy | Home
© Copyright 2009-2014 Grammarist
%d bloggers like this: