Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Conferring or showing respect or honor.
  • noun A title, phrase, or grammatical form conveying respect, used especially when addressing a social superior.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Conferring honor; importing respect or deference.
  • noun A word or syllable used as a mere honorific term: as, for example, in the languages of China and Japan, kwei, honorable, kao, eminent, lao, venerable, go, imperial, o, great or august, used for the second and third personal pronouns when speaking to or of another: as, kwei kwoh, your (honorable) country; go sei mei, your (imperial) name, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Conferring honor; tending to honor.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A title. (i.e., Mister, Misses, Doctor, Professor)
  • noun A term of respect; respectful language.
  • adjective Showing or conferring honour and respect.
  • adjective Based on or valuing honor

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an expression of respect
  • adjective conferring or showing honor or respect

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin honōrificus : honor, honōr-, honor + -ficus, -fic.]

Examples

  • I'm all for hanging Bush by his toenails (figuratively of course) but for a member of Congress to explicitly elide the honorific is a breach of decorum.

    Report: Obama Picks Labor Secretary

  • The installation of so-called honorific seats, places reserved especially for the highest elite, were a common feature in theaters.

    Interactive Dig Sagalassos - Odeion Report 3

  • Quoting sources in North Korea, the exile radio station said North Koreans now call leader Kim Jong-il simply by his name without using any honorific, which is unprecedented in the North.

    english.chosun.com : Total

  • Quoting sources in North Korea, the exile radio station said North Koreans now call leader Kim Jong-il simply by his name without using any honorific, which is unprecedented in the North.

    english.chosun.com : Total

  • Quoting sources in North Korea, the exile radio station said North Koreans now call leader Kim Jong-il simply by his name without using any honorific, which is unprecedented in the North.

    english.chosun.com : Total

  • Quoting sources in North Korea, the exile radio station said North Koreans now call leader Kim Jong-il simply by his name without using any honorific, which is unprecedented in the North.

    english.chosun.com : Total

  • That the word astronaut seems to be viewed by some as some kind of honorific, expressing not just existence at altitude, but also accomplishment at altitude (as recognized by some, but perhaps not others), makes that word conditional in a way that actually cheapens it.

    Is Senator Bill Nelson an Astronaut? - NASA Watch

  • She didn't earn but squandered the honor of being an "honorific" Senator.

    Clinton Spokesperson Rules Out Pursuit Of Obama's Pledged Delegates

  • Rider Haggard, the full "honorific"/name for the title character.

    Archive 2009-05-10

  • A senior interrogator at Balad, he was considered an intellectual, though his honorific was an exaggeration: He had earned two master’s degrees, one in international relations and another in management.

    The Ploy

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