Word Origin & History
c.1200, "glory, renown, fame earned," from Anglo-Fr. honour, from O.Fr. honor, from L. honorem (nom. honos) "honor, dignity, office, reputation," of unknown origin. Till 17c., honour and honor were equally frequent; the former now preferred in England, the latter in U.S. by infl. of Noah Webster's spelling
reforms. Meaning "a woman's chastity" first attested late 14c. The verb is recorded from late 13c. in sense of "to do honor to;" in the commercial sense of "accept a bill due, etc.," it is recorded from 1706. Honorarium "honorary reward" (1650s), was, in L., "bribe paid to get appointed to an honorary post."