Honor and honour are two ways of spelling the same noun, which means “great respect” or “privilege.” It can also be used as a verb to mean “keep an agreement” or “regard with great respect.” The spelling depends on the type of English you use.
Examples: Honor or honour in a sentence Megan decided to honor/honour grandfather by continuing his philantrophic work. The organization plans to honor/honour its employees with a special ceremony. In academic settings, plagiarism is viewed as a breach of honor/honour.
The same spelling difference applies to the past tense form honoured or honored.
In British English, “honoured" is standard.
In American English, "honored" is correct.
Examples: Honoured or honored in a sentence Leslie honoured/honored her late grandmother during her wedding ceremony.
I wish they had honoured/honored the students for their hard work.
Casper felt deeply honoured/honored to receive the prestigious award.
Honourable or honorable
The spelling difference also applies to the related adjective honourable or honorable, meaning “creditable” or “worthy.”
In British English, “honourable" is standard.
In American English, "honorable" is correct.
Examples: Honourable or honorable in a sentence Sanjay's honourable/honorable conduct earned him a lot of respect.
Serving the community in times of need is an honourable/honorable duty.
An honourable/honorable judge ensures that the rule of law is upheld.
Like the noun honor or honour, the adjective honorable or honourable is preceded by the indefinite article an instead of a, because the initial “h” is silent (it’s pronounced [on-ur]). When you don’t know whether to use a or an, sound out the word. If the first sound is a vowel, use an.
Exceptions: Honorific, honorarium, honorary
For most related words, the spelling difference between American and British English carries over. But this is not the case for the less commonly used words honorific, honorarium, and honorary. The “u” is never added to these words.
Examples: Honorific, honorarium, and honorary in a sentence In Japan, the honorific “san” is used to show respect, like “Mr.” or “Mrs.” in English.
The talented musician was offered an honorarium to perform at the fundraising gala.
The organization recognized her as an honorary chairperson for her work.
Main differences between American and British English
American and British English are very similar, but there are a few main differences in spelling. Five important differences are:
-or vs -our
In American English, many Latin-derived words end in -or.
In British English, these same words end in -our.
Behavior or behaviour Color or colour Favor or favour Favorite or favourite Humor or humour Labor or labour
-er vs -re
In American English, some French, Latin, or Greek words end in -er.
In British English, these same words end in -re.
Theater or theatre Center or centre Meter or metre Liter or litre Saber or sabre Fiber or fibre
-ize vs -ise
In American English, many Greek-derived words end in -yze or -ize.
In British English, these words end in -yse or -ise.
Realize or realise Recognize or recognise Analyze or analyse Organize or organise Minimize or minimise Finalize or finalise
-ed vs -t
In American English, most verbs are regular and form their past tense with the suffix -ed.
In British English, some of these verbs are irregular and form their past tense with the suffix -t.
Learned or learnt Burned or burnt Kneeled or knelt Dreamed or dreamt Smelled or smelt Spelled or spelt
Single vs double consonant
In American English, many words are spelled with a single consonant.
In British English, these same words are spelled with a double consonant.
Modeling or modelling Traveling or travelling Canceled or cancelled Labeled or labelled Buses or busses Focused or focussed
Recommended language articles
Do you want to know more about common mistakes, commonly confused words, rhetorical devices, or other language topics? Check out some of our other language articles full of examples and quizzes.