Honor vs. Honour: What’s the Difference?

It’s no secret that Americans and Britons spell words differently. American English features many streamlined or simplified spellings that some Americans feel more accurately represents the way the language is actually spoken.

These spelling differences are reflected in the words honor and honour, which are two variations of the same word. One is the American spelling, while the other is British. Continue reading to find out if you should be using honour or honor in your writing, depending on for whom you are writing.

What is the Difference Between Honor and Honour?

In this article, I will compare honor vs. honour. I will use each spelling in a sentence, and, at the end, I will show you a useful trick to determine whether you should choose honor or honour.

When to Use Honor

honor versus honour What does honor mean? Honor can be a noun or a verb.

As a noun, honor means respectability, virtue, or a code of conduct derived from a high value placed on the pursuit of these concepts. Some people and societies have meticulous, detailed codes of honor that involve strict rules for behavior and treatment of others. In other cases, honor is understood in a more general sense of uprightness and honesty.

Here are some examples of honor used in a sentence as a noun,

  • It is my great honor to announce this year’s winner of the Tri-Cities Goat Breeding Competition, Dr. Meenakshi Agarwal.
  • David got a black eye while fighting for Kady’s honor.

As a verb, honor means to hold in high esteem.

For example,

  • Sam honored his grandparents by placing flowers on their gravestones each year.
  • I will accept no more requests for time off until the end of the month, but I will honor requests for time off that have already been submitted.
  • On a night when retired coach Steve Spurrier was honored along with his 1996 national championship team, No. 25 Florida looked nothing like a potential Southeastern Conference title contender. –The New York Times

Honor is the standard form of this word in American English, where it follows the American spelling convention of dropping the U from words ending in -our. See also, labor, color, favor, etc.

When to Use Honour

Definition of honour definition and definition of honor definitionWhat does honour mean? Honour is the British English spelling of the same word. It can be used in all of the same contexts as honor.

For example,

  • The Christian Bible commands young believers to “honour thy father and thy mother.”
  • The Serb joined Chelsea in 2008 and has won every domestic and European club honour during his eight years in London. –The Telegraph

Trick to Remember the Difference

Define honour and define honorHere is a helpful trick to remember honour vs. honor.

Honor is the preferred spelling of this word in American English. In British English, honour is standard. Therefore, you should use honor with American audiences and honour with British audiences.

You can remember to use honour for British audiences since honour is spelled with a U, which is also the first letter of United Kingdom. This shared U should make it easy to remember than British audiences prefer honour.

Summary

Is it honor or honour? Honor and honour are two spellings of the same word, which can be a noun or a verb.

As a noun, honor means respectability, virture, or a code of conduct valuing these concepts. As a verb, honor means to show esteem.

  • Honor is the preferred spelling in American English to American audiences.
  • Honour is the preferred spelling British English to British audiences.

It’s easy to remember that honour is the British spelling, since honour and United Kingdom are both spelled with a U.

If you need additional guidance, you can always refer back to this article.

[i]
[i]