Kudos – Origin, Usage & 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.

Kudos is a noun or expression popularized in British universities but originated in the ancient Greek era. To give kudos is to give credit and praise.

Let’s examine the definition of kudos and where it came from. I also provide a few easy examples of how to use it in a sentence.

Kudos Meaning

I was surprised to find that there are actually several definitions for kudos. Kudos is a noun that refers to praise or honor given for achievement. It also means fame and renown resulting from an accomplishment or act.

For instance, if you’re a famous actor with several awards, you might receive a certain amount of public admiration or kudos.

Kudos Ngram
Usage trend of the word kudos.

Many people treat kudos as a plural countable noun. But this Ngram states otherwise because much kudos is more common than many kudos. Remember that many is for plural countable nouns, while much is for singular uncountable nouns. This Ngram reveals the use of kudos spiked in the 1980s.

Much Kudos vs. Many Kudos Ngram
Much kudos and many kudos usage trend.

Kudos to You Meaning

Grammarist Article Graphic V4 2023 01 06T202435.583

Kudos to you is an expression that means credit goes to you. For example, if you work all night to prepare for a presentation, your boss might tell you, “Kudos to you!”

Kudos Origin

Kudos is a direct borrowing from the Greek word κῦδος which means praise. The singular form kudo is actually a back-formation of the word kudos. 

Kudos may be considered a mass noun because Greek-derived words ending in -os are usually uncountable. Some examples include chaos and pathos.

Kudos started as a popular slang at British universities during the 19th century. It originally meant the prestige or renown one gains by having accomplished something. It transitioned into its new meaning, praise given for achievement, in the 1920s.

How to Pronounce Kudos

The correct pronunciation of kudos is koo-dowz.

Is It Cudos or Kudos?

The proper spelling of the word that means praise and honor is kudos. It starts with K instead of C.

Examples of Kudos in a Sentence

  • A massive kudos to the team and all the volunteers that had a hand in helping pull off this historical event!
  • I have to give kudos to my partner in crime, my husband, who helped get me to where I am today.
  • I love to write, but I have to give kudos to programs like Grammarly and ProWritingAid for helping to make me a better writer.
  • Thank you for this great honor, but I have to give kudos to my manager, who booked every gig and kept me on track. I couldn’t have done it without her.
  • Kudos to Beverly Bootstraps for its innovative approach to ensuring healthy food gets to those who need it most, where they need it most. (Gloucester Times)
  • Mackay’s energy won kudos from the Friends’ executive, who chose her as this year’s recipient of the Joyce Kasch Award for outstanding volunteer service to the library. (The Sault Star)

Kudos Summed Up

I hope this guide helped you understand the meaning and origin of kudos. Kudos is usually used to express praise or appreciation. Say it to yourself or someone you know whose efforts deserve more recognition!

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