It’s a huge honour for us to share Tim Bowen’s take on the collocates of this honourable word.

An honour is defined as ‘something that makes you proud’ or ‘a prize for achievement’. 

With the first meaning, an honour can be great, huge, major, rare or tremendous, as in ‘It is usually seen as a great honour to be chosen as a baby’s godparent’ or ‘It is a huge honour for me to introduce our special guest today’. 

On the other side of the coin, an honour which in reality is far from being an honour can be described as a dubious honour, as in ‘He had the dubious honour of being the first finalist in history to finish more than two laps behind the eventual winner’. 

With the meaning of an award, an honour can be coveted or prestigious, as in ‘The inventor of the world wide web was awarded the Order of Merit, one of the UK’s most prestigious honours’. 

In a sporting context (and in the plural form), honours can be top or major, as in ‘The team’s form has been so patchy this year that it is highly unlikely that they will be challenging for major honours come the end of the season’. 

Honours are awarded, bestowed or conferred, as in ‘The French President posthumously bestowed France’s top honour on the three police officers who died in the attacks’. Likewise, honours can be accepted, received or shared, as in ‘She received a number of honours for her outstanding work in the field of medical research’. Also, honours are earned and will probably also be deserved, as in ‘It is my pleasure today to confer this well-deserved honour’.


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