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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Burr-Hamilton duel of 1804 - Alexander Hamilton defends his honour by accepting Aaron Burr's challenge

Honour or Honor (from the Latin word honor, honoris) is the evaluation of a person's trustworthiness and social status based on that individual's espousals and actions. Honour is deemed exactly what determines a person's character: whether or not the person reflects honesty, respect, integrity, or fairness. Accordingly, individuals are assigned worth and stature based on the harmony of their actions, code of honour, and that of the society at large. Honour can be analysed as a relativistic concept, i.e., conflicts between individuals and even cultures arising as a consequence of material circumstance and ambition, rather than fundamental differences in principle. Alternatively, it can be viewed as nativist — that honour is as real to the human condition as love, and likewise derives from the formative personal bonds that establish one's personal dignity and character.

Dr Samuel Johnson, in his A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), defined honour as having several senses, the first of which was "nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness." This sort of honour derives from the perceived virtuous conduct and personal integrity of the person endowed with it. On the other hand, Johnson also defined honour in relationship to "reputation" and "fame"; to "privileges of rank or birth", and as "respect" of the kind which "places an individual socially and determines his right to precedence." This sort of honour is not so much a function of moral or ethical excellence, as it is a consequence of power. Finally, with respect to women, honour may be synonymous with "chastity" or "virginity", or in case of a married woman, "fidelity".


Honour, love, and violence

Traditionally, in Western society, honour figured largely as a guiding principle. A man's honour, that of his wife, his family or his beloved, formed an all-important issue: the archetypal "man of honour" remained ever alert for any insult, actual or suspected: for either would impugn his honour.

In the early medieval period, a lord or lady’s honour was the group of manors or lands he or she held. “The word was first used indicating an estate which gave its holder dignity and status.”[1] For a person to say “on my honour” was not just an affirmation of his or her integrity and rank, but the veracity behind that phrase meant he or she was willing to offer up estates as pledge and guarantee.

The concept of honour appears to have declined in importance in the modern secular West. Popular stereotypes would have it surviving more definitively in alleged "hot-blooded" cultures (Italian, Persian, Turkish, Arab, Iberian, etc.) or in more "gentlemanly" societies (like the "Old South" of Dixie). Feudal or other agrarian societies, which focus upon land use and land ownership, may tend to "honour" more than do deracinated industrial societies. An emphasis on the importance of honour exists in such institutions as the military (officers may conduct a court of honour) and in organisations with a military ethos, such as Scouting organisations.

"Honour" in the case of females is frequently related, historically, to sexuality: preservation of "honour" equated primarily to maintenance of virginity of unattached women and to the exclusive monogamy of the remainder. One can speculate that feminism has changed some linguistic usage in this respect. Conceptions of honour vary widely between cultures; in some cultures, honour killings of (mostly female) members of one's own family are considered justified if the individuals have "defiled the family's honour" by marrying against the family's wishes, or even by being the victims of rape. These honour killings are generally seen in the West as a way of men using the culture of honour to control female sexuality [1].

Cultures of honour and cultures of law

One can contrast cultures of honour with cultures of law. In a culture of law there is a body of laws which must be obeyed by all, with punishments for transgressors. This requires a society with the structures required to enact and enforce laws. A culture of law incorporates an unwritten social contract: members of society agree to give up most of their rights to defend themselves and retaliate for injuries, on the understanding that transgressors will be apprehended and punished by society. From the viewpoint of anthropology, cultures of honour typically appear among nomadic peoples and herdsmen who carry their most valuable property with them and risk having it stolen, without having recourse to law enforcement or government. In this situation, inspiring fear forms a better strategy than promoting friendship; and cultivating a reputation for swift and disproportionate revenge increases the safety of one's person and property. Thinkers ranging from Montesquieu to Steven Pinker have remarked upon the mindset needed for a culture of honour.

Cultures of honour therefore appear among the Bedouin, Scottish and English herdsmen of the Border country, and many similar peoples, who have little allegiance to a national government; among cowboys, frontiersmen, and ranchers of the American West, where official law-enforcement often remained out of reach, as is famously celebrated in Westerns; among the plantation culture of the American South, and among aristocrats, who enjoy hereditary privileges that put them beyond the reach of codes of law. Cultures of honour also flourish in criminal underworlds and gangs, whose members carry large amounts of cash and contraband and cannot complain to the law if it is stolen.

Cultures of honour will often arise when three conditions[2] exist: 1) a lack of resources; 2) where the benefit of theft and crime outweighs the risks; and 3) a lack of sufficient law enforcement (such as in geographically remote regions). Historically cultures of honour exist in places where the economy is dominated by herding animals. In this situation the geography is usually remote since the soil can not support extensive sustained farming and thus large populations; the benefit of stealing animals from other herds is high since it is main form of wealth; and there is no central law enforcement or rule of law. However cultures of honour can also appear in places like modern inner city slums. The three conditions exist here as well: lack of resources (poverty); crime and theft have a high rewards compared to the alternatives (few); and law enforcement is generally lax or corrupt.[2]

Once a culture of honour exists, it is difficult for its members to make the transition to a culture of law; this requires that people become willing to back down and refuse to immediately retaliate, and from the viewpoint of the culture of honour, this tends to appear to be an unwise act reflecting weakness.

Related concepts

In contemporary international relations, the concept of "credibility" resembles that of honour, as when the credibility of a state or of an alliance appears to be at stake, and honour-bound politicians call for drastic measures.

Compare the concepts of integrity and face in stereotyped East Asian cultures, or of mana in Polynesian society.

The ancient Greek concepts of honour (timē) included not only the exaltation of the one receiving honour, but also the shaming of the one overcome by the act of hubris. This concept of honour is akin to a zero-sum game.

In lands ancient Japan, honour was always seen as almost a duty by Samurai. When one lost their honour or the situation made them lose it, the only way to save their dignity was by death. Seppuku (vulgarly called "harakiri," or "belly-cutting") was the most honourable death in that situation. The only way for a Samurai to die more honourably was to be killed in a battle by a sword.

For a similar concept with many connotations opposite to honour, see shame.

Honours and awards

In many countries the term honour can refer to an award given by the state. Such honours include military medals, but more typically imply a civilian award, such as a British OBE, a knighthood or membership of the French Légion d'honneur.

See also, List of prizes, medals, and awards; and Chivalric order.

In film

The 1986 film The Karate Kid, Part II emphasizes honour. During the beginning of the film Mr. Miyagi explains to Daniel how he was challenged to fight an old friend from Okinawa years ago who wanted to save his honour. Miyagi discusses the seriousness of honour in Okinawa by saying that "honour have no time limit". In the film the character Chozen Taguchi fights Daniel LaRusso with hatred because he blames Daniel for dishonouring him. Daniel reveals that Chozen cheated people out of their money.

See also

External links


  1. ^ A Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases, Christopher Corédon, 2004, D.S. Brewer, Cambridge, ISBN 1-84384-023-5
  2. ^ a b Richard Nisbett. Culture of Honor. 1996. ISBN 0-8133-1992-7


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Honor is the concept of a direct relation between one's virtues (or "values") and their status within society.


  • Mine honor is my life, both grow in one. Take honor from me, and my life is done. Then, dear my liege, mine honor let me try; In that I live, and for that I will die
  • And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
  • Losing honour or losing everything, it is all the same thing in the realm of the good people.
  • Est Sularis oth Mithas
    • Translation: My Honor Is My Life
    • Sturm Brightblade from the Dragonlance saga
  • If your name means that much to you, live on and redeem it.
  • Whoever appeals to the law against his fellow man is either a fool or a coward. Whoever cannot take care of themself without that law is both. For a wounded man shall say to his assailant, "If I live, I will kill you, If I die, you are forgiven." Such is the rule of honor.
  • "Chose disgrace where obedience did not bring honour"
    • inscription on tombstone of Prussian General Johann Friedrich Adolf von der Marwitz, who received after the victory over Saxony an order by Frederick the Great to take and remove the famous library of Count Brühl to Berlin and who replied to his king: "This is unbefitting to an officer of His Majesty" and resigned his commission.
  • "Oh Lord! How many of these you surely have spilt over the world, who suffer for the black so-called honour what they would not suffer for you!" (Lázaro) [...] "I make you know that I am, as you see, a squire; but, by God!, if Ï meet the count on the street and he does not fully take off his hat before me, next time I will know to enter a house, simulating to have some business there, or cross to another street, if there is one, before he reaches me, so that I will not take off mine. That a hidalgo does not owe anything to anybody but God and the king, nor it is proper, being a good man, to lose a comma of care in regarding himself highly." (The Squire)
  • "Honor is what a man owns...."
    • Esteban Pallares "The Honorable Pallares" Pg.1,562
  • "Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
    • KJV Holy Bible (Exodus 20:12).
  • "To the King, one must give his possessions and his life; but honour is a possession of soul, and the soul is only God's."
  • "And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of the divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
  • "... Honour ... remains awake in us like a last lamp in a temple that has been laid to waste."
  • "... during the time that the aristocracy was dominant, the concepts honour, loyalty, etc. were dominant, during the dominance of the bourgeoisie the concepts freedom, equality, etc."
  • "We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst."
  • "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing."
  • "I will to my lord be true and faithful, and love all which he loves and shun all which he shuns."
  • "I will be forced to sink [the US ships], because even if I have one ship left I will proceed with the bombardment. Spain, the Queen and I prefer honour without ships than ships without honour."
    • Casto Méndez Núñez on the Valparaiso bombardment.
  • "We have no other choice. Our submission would serve no end; if Germany is victorious, Belgium, whatever her attitude, will be annexed to the Reich. If die we must, better death with honour."
    • Prime Minister de Broqueville of Belgium, responding to Germany's demand for Belgium's capitulation, 2 August 1914
  • "To die with honour, when one can no longer live with honour."
    • Giacomo Puccini, Madama Butterfly


  • A man has honor if he holds himself to an ideal of conduct though it is inconvenient, unprofitable, or dangerous to do so.
  • A prophet is not without honor except in his own country among his own people.
    • Sun Ra
  • A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.
  • A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.
  • Ability without honor is useless.
  • As this long and difficult war ends, I would like to address a few special words to the American people: Your steadfastness in supporting our insistence on peace with honor has made peace with honor possible.
  • As we honor and thank the brave men and women of our military who fight today to guarantee our freedom, we realize there is no greater force in the world than the energy of free people, and we must remember that spreading that energy is the best way to help our country remain free and secure.
    • Bob Beauprez
  • Fondly we think we honor merit then, When we but praise ourselves in other men.
  • Honor among thieves is the ancestor of all honor.
  • Honor bespeaks worth. Confidence begets trust. Service brings satisfaction. Cooperation proves the quality of leadership.
    • James Cash Penney
  • Honor is not the exclusive property of any political party.
  • Honor is the reward of virtue.
  • I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.
  • It is not the honor that you take with you, but the heritage you leave behind.
  • Liberty, as well as honor, man ought to preserve at the hazard of his life, for without it life is insupportable.
  • No amount of ability is of the slightest avail without honor.
  • Show me the person you honor, for I know better by that the kind of person you are. For you show me what your idea of humanity is.
  • Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good.
    • Joe Paterno
  • There could be no honor in a sure success, but much might be wrested from a sure defeat.
  • To be ambitious of true honor, of the true glory and perfection of our natures, is the very principle and incentive of virtue.
  • To the Master's honor all must turn, each in its track, without a sound, forever tracing Newton's ground.
  • Who is worthy of honor? The one who honors others.
    • Ben Zoma
  • You have to defend your honor. And your family.
    • Suzanne Vega
  • Honor is a fool's trap.
    • Anonymous
  • Loyualte me lie
    • Translation: Loyalty binds me
    • Richard III
  • "Rather fail with honour than succeed by fraud"
  • "In contrast to the purely economically determined "class situation" we wish to designate as "status situation" every typical component of the life fate of men that is determined by a specific, positive or negative, social estimation of honour. This honour may be connected with any quality shared by a plurality, and, of course, it can be knit to a class situation: class distinctions are linked in the most varied ways with status distinctions. Property as such is not always recognised as a status qualification, but in the long run is, and with extraordinary regularity."
  • "Peace is a precious and a desirable thing. Our generation, bloodied in wars, certainly deserves peace. But peace, like almost all things of this world, has its price, a high but a measurable one. We in Poland do not know the concept of peace at any price. There is only one thing in the lives of men, nations and countries that is without price. That thing is honor."
    • Józef Beck

See also

Wikipedia has an article about:
Look up honor in Wiktionary, the free dictionary

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel


Honor is a city in Northern Michigan.

Get in

Honor is a small village located in Benzie County in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Close to the Platte Lakes, Crystal Lake and Lake Michigan also the Platte River runs through the outskirts of town which makes Honor a popular canoeing and fishing destination.

  • The Platte River State Fish Hatchery [1]
  • Cherry Bowl Theater. A drive-in committed to showing movies that don't glorify teen drinking. [2]  edit
  • Papa J's Pizzeria & Diner[3] This 50's style diner serves a full menu for breakfast lunch and diner.
Cedar Lake Lodge on Cedar Lake in Traverse City.
Cedar Lake Lodge on Cedar Lake in Traverse City.
  • Long Lake Landing [4] New 4 Bedroom, 3 bath home on Long Lake with sandy frontage. Sleeps 14. Open year round.
  • Honor Motel [5] Clean and comfortable rooms @ affordable rates. This "Mom & Pop" type operation is open year round.
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010
(Redirected to honor article)

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:



Alternative spellings




honor (uncountable)

  1. (US) An objectification of praiseworthiness, respect. (I.e., something that represents praiseworthiness, respect.)
  2. (US) The center point of the upper half of an armorial escutcheon.
  3. (US) An ace, king, queen, jack, or ten especially of the trump suit in bridge.
  4. (US) The privilege of playing first from the tee in golf.


Derived terms


to honor

Third person singular

Simple past

Past participle

Present participle

to honor (third-person singular simple present honors, present participle honoring, simple past and past participle honored)

  1. (transitive, US) To show respect for.
  2. (transitive, US) To conform to, abide by, act in accordance with (an agreement, request, or the like).
    refuse to honor the exercise of put option
  3. (transitive, US) To bestow an honor on a person


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Derived terms



honor (genitive honōris); m, third declension

  1. honor, esteem


Number Singular Plural
nominative honor honōrēs
genitive honōris honōrum
dative honōrī honōribus
accusative honōrem honōrēs
ablative honōre honōribus
vocative honor honōrēs



honor m.

  1. honour (objectification of praiseworthiness, respect)

This Polish entry was created from the translations listed at honour. It may be less reliable than other entries, and may be missing parts of speech or additional senses. Please also see honor in the Polish Wiktionary. This notice will be removed when the entry is checked. (more information) May 2009



honor m. (plural honores)

honor m.

honores m.

  1. honor.

Related terms

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