‘Honor' or 'Honour': What's the Difference?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on January 13, 2023

Not sure which spelling of this word to use – ‘honor’ or ‘honour’? We can clear that up for you, plus teach you how to use the word in a sentence.

In short, the correct way to spell the word in American English is ‘honor.’

‘Honour’ is simply the British English spelling of the word. They both mean the same thing. Therefore, they can be used interchangeably. 

‘Honor’ or ‘Honour’ – What’s the Difference?

As you just learned, ‘honor’ is the American English spelling of the word and ‘honour’ is the British English spelling of the word.

That’s the only difference between the words. They mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably if your audience changes from American to British or vice versa.

There are a few words in the English language with both American and British spelling, including words like apologize/apologise.

Is It ‘Honor’ or ‘Honour’? 

Well, that depends on your audience. Both are technically correct spellings of the same word. Therefore, if your audience is British, use the spelling with the ‘u’ and if it’s American, use the version without it.

They’re not considered homophones because they mean the same thing. Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Honor’ and ‘Honour’

The Merriam-Webster definition of the word is: “a god name or public esteem: reputation,” “a showing of usually merited respect: recognition,” “privilege,” “a person of superior standing > now used especially as a title for a holder of high office,” “one whose worth brings respect or fame: credit,” “an award in a contest or field of competition,” and “an academic distinction conferred on a superior student.”

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Honor’ and ‘Honour’

Learning how to pronounce words in English is part of the process. That’s why it’s important that you know how to pronounce the words you’re learning so you can use them in spoken conversations and not just in your writing.

Take a look at the short pronunciation guide we’ve provided.

  • To pronounce honor, use this phonetic spelling: AHnuUHR.

How to Use ‘Honor’ and ‘Honour’ in a Sentence

Now that we know what the word means and how to pronounce it let’s take a look at some examples of how to use it in a sentence.

  • I told my co-worker it’d been an honor and a privilege to work with him on his last day before retirement.
  • In honor of my aunt, we’re having a memorial celebration on what would have been her birthday.
  • It was a huge honor to win an award for my writing. I cannot believe it!
  • The greatest honor in my life was becoming valedictorian of my high school class.
  • We’re going to honor Miss Honey at her gravesite next week by bringing flowers.
  • They raised the flag in honor of our fallen heroes.

Concluding Thoughts on ‘Honor’ and ‘Honour’

To recap, we learned ‘honor’ and ‘honour’ mean the same thing. They can be used interchangeably whenever your audience changes, so keep that in mind. If you’re writing for an American audience, use the version without the ‘u.’

If you ever get stuck, don’t be afraid to come back and get a quick reminder.

We’ve also got a ton of content on other confusing words and phrases you might come across in the English language.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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