Difference Between Respect and Honour

English is one of the unique languages in which so many words offer the same meaning but in a different format.


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There exist few words whose meaning might feel like being similar, but they possess a subtle difference between them. The meaning of these words differs for the context.

The meaning of a particular word in noun form would be different when used as a verb. People often do not recognize the differences in the meaning and use it in their context which is incorrect.

Respect and honour are two such words in which people tend to make mistake in their usage.

Respect vs Honour

The difference between honour and respect is in usage. Respecting others is a way of treating people. But honouring a person is a way of showing high regard to that particular person. All people who are honoured are respected but the reverse cannot be true all the time.

Respect vs Honour

The term ‘respect’ is used in parallel with ‘honour’ to mean that we admire and show esteem on 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 it is used as a noun (uncountable). When used as a verb, the term ‘respect’ denotes respecting someone or to have esteem for something. The term ‘honour’ has a different meaning for both noun and verb form.

As a noun, honour denotes recognition or identification of significance or value. This meaning is applicable when it is used as a noun (uncountable). When used as a verb, ‘honour’ means to respect in a higher manner. It also denotes to think someone highly or to show high esteem for someone or something. Usually, honour has a more formal meaning and deemed to be higher than the term ‘respect’.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRespectHonour
Origin of the WordLatinLatin
SynonymAppreciation or AdmirationHigher Esteem
Meaning when used as a nounGood 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 verbTo have regard or respect for, to abide or to observe a rule, practice or custom, be concerned with.To show higher esteem, to respect or think of very highly, to bestow honour or privilege on someone.
Example in noun formWe have great respect for them.The soldiers gave the returning commander much honour and praise.
Example in verb formI 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 which highlights the importance or deems an object or person to be important.

It exhibits a feel of admiration towards the subject it is denoting to. For Instance, Mr ABC is a great scientist and he has huge respect for him.

Sometimes, the term ‘respect’ is also 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 generally 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 on 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 the same person would be respected by others. 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. It is generally a formal version of respect which emphasizes higher esteem to someone or somebody.

This term is used to denote a person who has high esteem and respect in the community. As a noun, the term ‘honour’ is used to mean 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 is also used to denote a cause of excellency, respect or fame. As a verb, honour denotes to respect 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 have high regards for grandmother.

This wouldn’t have been the case if the term ‘respect’ was used in the above sentence.


Main Differences Between Respect and Honour

  1. Respect is shown on others based on the perception of an individual while honour is higher than respect which tells about a person’s high moral character and social stand.
  2. When used as a verb, ‘honour’ means to show regard whereas ‘respect’ is to have esteem for.
  3. When used as a noun, ‘respect’ denotes an attitude of regard or consideration whereas ‘honour’ is used to denote the state of being noble, morally upright, virtuous etc.
  4. The antonym for ‘honour’ is despised whereas the antonym for ‘respect’ is disrespect.           
  5. ‘Honour’ is a formal version of the term ‘respect’,
Difference Between Respect and Honour
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