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Got the following from this link.

  • Award (n): a recognition of a personal achievement, e.g. a scholarship for winning a science fair, a plaque for volunteering 100 hours of community service
  • Reward (n): compensation or incentive for doing something, e.g. cash for returning a lost wallet, getting to stay up late for tidying one's bedroom.

So, is there anything different for prize too? And what about medal? How are these words different from each other? Are there any particular reasons a committee might use one word instead of another when naming a particular achievement?

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closed as general reference by Bill Franke, MετάEd, FumbleFingers, Robusto, Kris Dec 30 '12 at 8:41

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

The information you're asking for can easily be gleaned from and advanced learner's dictionary like the Macmillan Online – user21497 Dec 29 '12 at 16:29
I've nominated this question for reopening, because I think there's more to this discussion than the dictionary explains. If I was going to create a new honor of some kind, to recognize a particular outstanding achievement, is there any reason I would call it a Medal (like the Caldecott Medal), vs. an Award (like the Turing Award), vs. a Prize (like the Pulitzer Prize). Maybe the O.P. could have done a better job of framing the question by asking about something more specific than semantic differences, but I still think this could be a good question about word usage. – J.R. Dec 30 '12 at 12:05
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Both etymonline and wiktionary provide useful comparisons of the several words you ask about. For example, see etymonline's entries for reward, award, prize, apprise, appraise, price, praise, etc. A note in the praise entry comments, “Now a verb in most Germanic languages (Ger. preis, Dan. pris, etc.), but only in English is it differentiated in form from cognate price.” A note in the price entry comments,

Praise, price, and prize began to diverge in Old French, with praise emerging in Middle English by early 14c. and prize being evident by late 1500s with the rise of the -z- spelling. Having shed the extra Old French and Middle English senses, the word now again has the base sense of the Latin original.

Note that prize has two separate etymologies for its different meanings as (1) a noun meaning “a taking, capture, ... a thing seized, ... booty” or plunder and (2) a verb meaning “To consider something highly valuable” or “To move with a lever; to force up or open; to prise or pry”. The noun derives via Middle English and Old French from Latin prendere (“to take, seize”); the verb from Latin pretium (“price, value”), again via Middle English and Old French.

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