Honor vs. Honour – Difference & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

The words “honor” and “honour” are two different spellings of the same word, which means “high respect or esteem,” “something that brings credit or distinction,” or “a code of integrity or principle.” But there’s a trick to using both, and it depends on a few things. Let’s break it down together in this simple guide with some examples.

Difference Between Honor and Honour

httpsgrammarist.comspellinghonor honour

Both spellings are used throughout the English-speaking world. “Honor” is more common in American English, while “honour” is more common in British spelling and other varieties of English.

Meaning of Honor or Honour 

One of the main meanings of “honor” and “honour” is “high respect or esteem.” When someone is said to have honor or honour, it means that they are highly respected and admired by others.

This can be due to their personal qualities, such as their integrity, honesty, or courage, or it can be due to their accomplishments or status in society.

So, someone might have “great honor” or “great honour” if they are widely admired and respected for their contributions to their community or their field of work.

Credibility

Another meaning of “honor” and “honour” is “something that brings credit or distinction.” This can refer to an award or accolade that is given to someone in recognition of their achievement or service. If someone has “won the highest honour,” then they have received a prestigious award or honor.

Also, when it comes to education, someone can graduate and have a degree with honors. This means they were at the top of their class. 

Integrity

A third meaning of “honor” and “honour” is “a code of integrity or principle.” This can refer to a set of values or principles that someone adheres to in their personal and professional life. For example, you might say that someone has “a strong sense of honour” if they are known for their honesty, reliability, and integrity.

Honor vs. Honour: What’s the Difference?

Honor vs. Honour American English Ngram
American English honor and honour usage trend.

There are some subtle differences in how “honor” and “honour” are used in different English-speaking regions. In American English, “honor” is more common, and it is typically used as a noun and a verb.

Honor vs. Honour British English Ngram
British English honour and honor usage trend.

You might say that someone has “been honored” with an award, or that they “honor” their commitments. In British English and other varieties of English, “honour” is more common, and it is typically used as a noun.

Is It Honor or Honour in Canada?

Canadians technically spell it as honour. But, as a Canadian author who writes for a worldwide audience, I use the more common American spelling of honor, regardless of whether I have Canadian or British audiences.

Is Honor Spelled Honor in the UK?

No, in the UK, they adopt the same spelling as Canada and use honour.

Do Americans Say Honor?

Yes, like the rest of the English-speaking world, American audiences say honor. Both spellings are pronounced the same. However, Americans use the honor spelling when writing.

Examples of Honor and Honour Used in Sentences

Here are both spelling variants in different phrases to show how there’s no difference.

  • Do I write maid of honor or maid of honour on this invitation?
  • The notion of honor varies from person to person.
  • My grandfather resigned with military honors.
  • It’s a matter of honor and duty.
  • Would you do me the honour?
  • We abide by codes of honor.
  • Here’s a list of honor inductees to consider.

Honor and Honour Are the Same

Basically, when it comes down to it, “honor” and “honour” are two different spellings of the same word, which means “high respect or esteem,” “something that brings credit or distinction,” or “a code of integrity or principle.”

While each version of spelling is used throughout the English-speaking world, “honor” is more common in American English, while “honour” is more common in British English and other varieties of English. Hope that helps answer your questions about honour vs. honor!

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