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Which is Correct: Honour or Honor?

Is it honour or honor?

Is it “honour” or “honor”?

Honour and honor are both correct spellings. The difference is where they’re used and accepted geographically:

  • In the UK, and other countries that follow UK English spelling conventions, spell “honour” with the “u”.

  • US English spells “honor” without the “u”.

Forms of honour or honor

Honour can be either a noun or a verb (not in the same sentence). As a noun, it means to have great respect for somebody. To consider something an ‘honor’ is to see it as a privilege to be able to do (either for someone or something).

Forms of honour as a noun, verb or adjective all follow the same spelling pattern:

US Englishhonor, honored, honoring, honors, honorable.
UK Englishhonour, honoured, honouring, honours, honourable

Other “-our”/”-or” words

Other words that share the “-our” / “-or” suffix follow the same spelling conventions, and likewise are separated by UK/US English rules:

UK EnglishUS English

Sentences using honour/honor as a noun

  • It is a great honour to represent my country at the Olympics.
  • He was a man of honour who always spoke the truth.
  • She is an honour to the profession.
  • The president was guest of honour at the society’s banquet.
  • He was buried with full military honours.

Sentences using honour/honor as a verb

  • Actors and musicians gathered to honour the memory of the late singer.
  • The President honoured us with a personal visit.
  • I’m glad to see that you’ve decided to honour us with your presence! (ironic)
  • He has been honoured with a knighthood for his scientific work.
  • When we got married, we promised to love and honor each other.

Synonyms of honour as a noun

  • distinction
  • glory
  • renown
  • righteousness
  • nobility
  • respect
  • prestige
  • notability
  • rectitude
  • morals
  • merit
  • importance
  • principle

Synonyms of honour as a verb

  • to have a high regard for
  • hold in great respect
  • defer to
  • think highly of
  • look up to
  • admire
  • respect
  • appreciate
  • value
  • esteem

Phrases with honour

  • honour system
  • honour killing
  • maid of honour
  • matron of honour
  • honour roll/roll of honour

The origin of honour

From Etymonline:

c. 1200, onur, “glory, renown, fame earned,” from Anglo-French honour, Old French onor, honor “honor, dignity, distinction, position; victory, triumph” (Modern French honneur), from Latin honorem (nominative honos, the form used by Cicero, but later honor) “honor, dignity, office, reputation,” which is of unknown origin.

Learn more about US English vs. UK English


  1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of honor.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 22 January, 2024.

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