English is one of the unique languages in which so many words offer the same meaning but in a different format.
A few words’ meanings might feel similar, but they have a subtle difference between them. The meaning of these words differs for the context.
Respect and honour are two words in which people tend to make mistakes in their usage.
- Respect and Honour are concepts used interchangeably, but they have different meanings and implications.
- Respect is the recognition of someone’s values, qualities, or achievements, while Honour is the recognition of someone’s integrity, dignity, and moral values.
- Respect can be earned through individual efforts, while Honour is bestowed upon someone by society or a community for their exemplary behaviour or service.
Respect vs Honour
The difference between honour and respect is in usage. Respecting others is a way of treating people. But honouring someone is a way of showing high regard for that person. All people who are honoured are respected, but the reverse cannot be true all the time.
The term ‘respect’ is used in parallel with ‘honour’ to mean that we admire and show esteem to something or somebody. But both the words have a subtle difference in their meaning. The term ‘respect’ means an attitude of consideration. But this meaning gets into play only when used as a noun (uncountable). When used as a verb, the term ‘respect’ denotes respecting someone or having esteem for something. The term ‘honour’ has a different meaning for nouns and verb forms.
As a noun, honour denotes recognition or identification of significance or value. This meaning applies when used as a noun (uncountable). When used as a verb, ‘honour’ means to respect in a higher manner. It also denotes thinking of someone highly or showing high esteem for someone or something. Usually, honour has a more formal meaning and is deemed higher than ‘respect’.
|Parameters of Comparison
|Origin of the Word
|Appreciation or Admiration
|Meaning, when used as a noun
|Good opinion, an attitude or perspective of high regard or consideration, soft greetings or condolence.
|Identification of value or importance, state of high reputation, magnanimous and noble character, a token of respect or praise, privilege, award or prize.
|Meaning when used as a verb
|To have regard or respect for, to abide or to observe a rule, practice or custom, be concerned with.
|To show higher esteem, respect or think of very highly, and bestow honour or privilege on someone.
|Example in noun form
|We have great respect for them.
|The soldiers gave the returning commander much honour and praise.
|Example in verb form
|I respect him to the core.
|The soldiers who sacrificed in this epic will be remembered and honoured forever by their countrymen and women.
What is Respect?
The term ‘respect’ is derived from the Latin word ‘respectus’, meaning regard.
In general, respect is a positive term highlighting the importance or deeming an object or person important.
It exhibits a feeling of admiration towards the subject it is denoting to. For Instance, Mr ABC is a great scientist, and he greatly respects him.
The term ‘respect’ is sometimes used to express condolence or greetings politely. For example, the soldiers paid their final respect to their deceased general.
The meaning of the term ‘respect’ varies depending on its usage. When used as a noun, it denotes a particular feature, an attitude of goodwill or high consideration or regard.
“We do respect Mr X for his worth and dignity.” In this sentence, respect denotes the regard given to Mr X., But when used as a verb, respect is used to show respect or regard for someone or somebody.
For example, We respect the decision to participate in the event. It should be noted that respect is an attribute or perspective of a person to show regard.
If one respects a person, it does not necessarily mean that others would respect the same person. It is because respect is personal to a particular person only.
What is Honour?
The term ‘honour’ is derived from the Latin word ‘honor’ or ‘honos’, meaning higher esteem. Generally, it is a formal version of respect that emphasizes higher esteem for someone or somebody.
This term is used to denote a person who has high esteem and respect in the community. As a noun, ‘honour’ means veneration or identification of value or importance.
For example, The crowd gave the returning team much praise and honour. It is also used to denote an award or prize given to a person. For example, John received many honours.
It also denotes a cause of excellence, respect or fame. As a verb, honour denotes respecting or think someone highly with great esteem.
Here comes the major difference between the term ‘respect’ and ‘esteem’. All people who are honoured are respected by the community, but not all people who are respected can be honoured.
If a person is honoured, it means he or she is accepted and given huge importance by everyone in the community.
For example, the Grandmother is honoured by everyone in the family. In this sentence, irrespective of personal likes and dislikes, everyone in the family highly regards grandmother.
This wouldn’t have been the case if the term ‘respect’ had been used in the above sentence.
Main Differences Between Respect and Honour
- Respect is shown to others based on an individual’s perception, while honour is higher than respect, which tells about a person’s high moral character and social stand.
- When used as a verb, ‘honour’ means to show regard, whereas ‘respect’ is to have esteem.
- When used as a noun, ‘respect’ denotes an attitude of regard or consideration, whereas ‘honour’ denotes the state of being noble, morally upright, virtuous etc.
- The antonym for ‘honour’ is despised, whereas the antonym for ‘respect’ is disrespect.
- ‘Honour’ is a formal version of the term ‘respect’,
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.