In bridge, an Ace, King, Queen, Jack, or ten of any suit. The ten is generally regarded as a pretty wimpy honor, but it counts in the scoring nonetheless. When playing rubber bridge, there is a bonus for holding the right honors in your hand:

  • In a suit contract, a player is awarded 100 points (100 honors) for holding four out of the five honors in the trump suit, and 150 points (150 honors) for holding all five.
  • In a notrump contract, a player is awarded 100 points (100 honors) for holding three aces, and 150 points (150 honors) for holding all four.

An extended definition of the word "honor".

With over 14 different definitions in Merriam-Webster's dictionary; honor, a tiny, two syllable word carries a lot of weight. According to Webster's, the word itself means "good name or public esteem" and is a Middle English word, dating it to the 13th century. It is derived from the Old French that in turn comes from the Latin "honos" or "Honor." Another definition refers to "reputation" or "recognition" and means "a showing of usually merited respect, as in "pay Honor to our founder." Synonyms include not only honesty and probity, but integrity as well as homage and reverence. Also, sometimes you will see it spelled with a “u” as honour in the British spelling. An honor student means a student who excels in school and marked high grades.

Previously honor figured largely as a guiding principle of society, functioning as part of a “code of honor” for a gentleman and often coming to expression in the practice of dueling. One's honor, that of one's wife, of one's (blood-)family or of one's beloved formed an all-important issue: the typical "man of honor" remained ever alert for any insult, actual or suspected: for either would deny his honor.

The concept of honor appears to have declined in importance in the modern secular Western World. Popular stereotypes would have it surviving more definitively in alleged "hot-blooded" Mediterranean cultures; Italian, Arab, Iberian. Or even in more "gentlemanly" societies like the "Old South" of Dixie. Feudal or other agricultural societies, focused upon land use and land ownership, may tend to honor "honor" more than do industrial societies. Traces of the importance attached to honor linger in the military such as officers conducting a “court of honor,” and also in organizations with military echoes, such as The Boys and Girl Scouts.

The Medal of Honor, established by joint resolution of Congress on July 12, 1862 is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the military, distinguishes himself conspicuously by bravery and guts at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any enemy of The United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which The United States is not a hostile party. The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly peg the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation's bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration's creation in 1861.

According to the Congress website, although it was created for the Civil War, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration in 1863. 1,520 Medals were awarded during the Civil War, 1,195 to the Army, 308 to the Navy, 17 to the Marines. 25 Medals were awarded posthumously. "Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."- President Abraham Lincoln

"Honor" in the case of females historically related frequently to sexuality: preservation of "honor" equated primarily to maintenance of virginity, or at least to preservation of exclusive monogamy. One could speculate that feminism may have changed some linguistic usage in this respect.

One can contrast cultures of honor with cultures of law. From the viewpoint of anthropology, cultures of honor 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 your person and property. Thinkers ranging from Montesquieu, a French political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment and is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, to Steven Pinker, one of the most prominent cognitive scientists today, have remarked upon the mindset needed for a culture of honor.

Cultures of honor therefore appear amongst Bedouins, 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 old American West, where official law-enforcement often remained out of reach, as famously celebrated in Western Movies; among the plantation culture of the American South, and among aristocrats, who enjoy hereditary privileges that put them beyond the reach of general laws. Cultures of honor 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.

Once a culture of honor 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 honor this appears as a weak and unwise act. Conceptions of honor vary widely between cultures; in some cultures, honor killings of (usually female) members of one's own family are considered justified if they have "defiled the family's honor" by marrying against one's wishes, or even by being the victims of rape. These honor killings are generally seen in the West as a way of men using the culture of honor to control female sexuality.

In contemporary international relations, the concept of "credibility" resembles that of honor: when the credibility of a state or of an alliance appears at stake, honor-bound politicians may call for drastic measures, however, how often this happens with politicians or lawyers is not known. Honor is a relatively small word. However, it has very many different meanings. Different for different people and for diffierent countries. Living with honor is choosing to honor others and live by righteous principles. Honor may be considered an old-fahioned principle; but it summarizes the ideals of living a good life with honesty, integrity, and respect.

Hon"or (?), n. [OE. honor, honour, onour, onur, OF. honor, onor, honur, onur, honour, onour, F. honneur, fr. L. honor, honos.] [Written also honour.]


Esteem due or paid to worth; high estimation; respect; consideration; reverence; veneration; manifestation of respect or reverence.

A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country. Matt. xiii. 57.


That which rightfully attracts esteem, respect, or consideration; self-respect; dignity; courage; fidelity; especially, excellence of character; high moral worth; virtue; nobleness; specif., in men, integrity; uprightness; trustworthness; in women, purity; chastity.

If she have forgot Honor and virtue. Shak.

Godlike erect, with native honor clad. Milton.


A nice sense of what is right, just, and true, with course of life correspondent thereto; strict conformity to the duty imposed by conscience, position, or privilege.

Say, what is honor? 'T is the finest sense Of justice which the human mind can frame, Intent each lurking frailty to disclaim, And guard the way of life from all offense Suffered or done. Wordsworth.

I could not love thee, dear, so much, Loved I not honor more. Lovelace.


That to which esteem or consideration is paid; distinguished position; high rank.

"Restored me to my honors."


I have given thee . . . both riches, and honor. 1 Kings iii. 13.

Thou art clothed with honor and majesty. Ps. civ. 1.


Fame; reputation; credit.

Some in theiractions do woo, and affect honor and reputation. Bacon.

If my honor is meant anything distinct from conscience, 't is no more than a regard to the censure and esteem of the world. Rogers.


A token of esteem paid to worth; a mark of respect; a ceremonial sign of consideration; as, he wore an honor on his breast; military honors; civil honors.

"Their funeral honors."



A cause of respect and fame; a glory; an excellency; an ornament; as, he is an honor to his nation.


A title applied to the holders of certain honorable civil offices, or to persons of rank; as, His Honor the Mayor. See Note under Honorable.

9. Feud.Law

A seigniory or lordship held of the king, on which other lordships and manors depended.


10. pl.

Academic or university prizes or distinctions; as, honors in classics.

11. pl. Whist

The ace, king, queen, and jack of trumps. The ten and nine are sometimes called Dutch honors.

R. A. Proctor.

Affair of honor, a dispute to be decided by a duel, or the duel itself. -- Court of honor, a court or tribunal to investigate and decide questions relating to points of honor; as a court of chivalry, or a military court to investigate acts or omissions which are unofficerlike or ungentlemanly in their nature. -- Debt of honor, a debt contracted by a verbal promise, or by betting or gambling, considered more binding than if recoverable by law. -- Honor bright! An assurance of truth or fidelity. [Colloq.] -- Honor court FeudalLaw, one held in an honor or seignory. -- Honor point. Her. See Escutcheon. -- Honors of war Mil., distinctions granted to a vanquished enemy, as of marching out from a camp or town armed, and with colors flying. -- Law, ∨ Code, of honor, certain rules by which social intercourse is regulated among persons of fashion, and which are founded on a regard to reputation. Paley. -- Maid of honor, a lady of rank, whose duty it is to attend the queen when she appears in public.<-- Bride's principle attendant at a wedding --> -- On one's honor, on the pledge of one's honor; as, the members of the House of Lords in Great Britain, are not under oath, but give their statements or verdicts on their honor. -- Point of honor, a scruple or nice distinction in matters affecting one's honor; as, he raised a point of honor. -- To do the honors, to bestow honor, as on a guest; to act as host or hostess at an entertainment. "To do the honors and to give the word." Pope. -- To do one honor, to confer distinction upon one. -- To have the honor, to have the privilege or distinction. -- Word of honor, an engagement confirmed by a pledge of honor.


© Webster 1913.

Hon"or, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Honored (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Honoring.] [OE. honouren, onouren, OF. honorer, honourer, F. honorer, fr. L. honorare, fr. honor, n.]


To regard or treat with honor, esteem, or respect; to revere; to treat with deference and submission; when used of the Supreme Being, to reverence; to adore; to worship.

Honor thy father and thy mother. Ex. xx. 12.

That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. John v. 23.

It is a custom More honor'd in the breach than the observance. Shak.


To dignify; to raise to distinction or notice; to bestow honor upon; to elevate in rank or station; to ennoble; to exalt; to glorify; hence, to do something to honor; to treat in a complimentary manner or with civility.

Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighten to honor. Esther vi. 9.

The name of Cassius honors this corruption. Shak.

3. Com.

To accept and pay when due; as, to honora bill of exchange.


© Webster 1913.

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