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honorific

[on-uh-rif-ik] /ˌɒn əˈrɪf ɪk/
adjective
1.
Also, honorifical. doing or conferring honor.
2.
conveying honor, as a title or a grammatical form used in speaking to or about a superior, elder, etc.
noun
3.
(in certain languages, as Chinese and Japanese) a class of forms used to show respect, especially in direct address.
4.
a title or term of respect.
Origin
1640-1650
1640-50; < Latin honōrificus honor-making. See honor, -i-, -fic
Related forms
honorifically, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for honorific
  • The salary for the largely honorific president is to be more than halved.
  • He says it with affection, an honorific won from my ability to make his phone read his e-mail.
  • It has encouraged the perception that his presence in government is purely honorific.
  • When asked politely, she'd explain that it was an honorific for one who protects the group.
  • As more nurses, pharmacists and physical therapists claim this honorific, physicians are fighting back.
  • In some cases an honorific or a patronymic name may be used.
  • The common honorific for all university faculty members.
  • The position of elector is largely honorific, often a reward for past service to the political party.
British Dictionary definitions for honorific

honorific

/ˌɒnəˈrɪfɪk/
adjective
1.
showing or conferring honour or respect
2.
  1. (of a pronoun, verb inflection, etc) indicating the speaker's respect for the addressee or his acknowledgment of inferior status
  2. (as noun): a Japanese honorific
Derived Forms
honorifically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for honorific
adj.

1640s, from Latin honorificus "that which does honor," from honorem (see honor (n.)) + -ficus "making," from stem of facere "make, do" (see factitious). As a noun, by 1867.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for honorific

a grammatical form used in speaking to a social superior. In English it has largely disappeared, retained only in the use of the third person when speaking to someone clearly superior in rank ("Does your highness wish it?"). In other Indo-European languages it has a vestigial form in the degree of formality attached to the use of second-person pronouns: e.g., in German Sie ("you") rather than the familiar du ("you," or "thou").

Learn more about honorific with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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