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Is the following use of honor acceptable in British English? The following examples are from American sources; I'm wondering whether they make sense in British English.

  1. The soldier honored his country with 20 years of service.

  2. We are very pleased, sir, to welcome you to the White House, and we're pleased to be honoring this man who has so honored his country with his art. (George Bush)

  3. In doing that, we will pay tribute to a Senator who honored us and honored his country with his public service. (Congressional Record, V. 149, PT. 19, October 24, 2003 to November 4, 2003.)

  4. Great athletes honor their countries by winning medals.

I've noticed that major American dictionaries have the following senses of honor that capture the above examples:

The Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary: to regard or treat (someone) with respect and admiration : to show or give honor to (someone)

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary: to confer honor on

The American Heritage Dictionary: To confer distinction on

closed as off-topic by AmE speaker, Skooba, Edwin Ashworth, MikeRoger, tchrist Oct 25 '17 at 13:20

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Other than the difference in spelling (with the 'u' in present-day British English, without in American English), these are acceptable uses of the verb that will make sense to British-English natives.

  • Some Brits say "honour" doesn't mean "bring honour to." So they reject the above sentences. – Apollyon Oct 5 '17 at 15:13
  • Really? Do they use it to mean something else as a verb? – Mara Oct 5 '17 at 15:17
  • What's your native language, Mara? – Apollyon Oct 5 '17 at 15:17
  • I'm not a native speaker. But what I understand from the dictionary definitions(collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/honour) of the verb (UK)honour/(US)honor is that it cannot be used in the sense as the OP used. The word, as a verb, is usually used in a passive voice format. – mahmud koya Oct 5 '17 at 15:24
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    Apollyon, I've been a Brit for 62 years and speaking English for most of them. I also happen to have spent 20-odd years writing and producing newspapers and magazines. Nothing in your Question examples would seem in any way strange to a native speaker of British English and in my limited experience, the same would be true of Australian, many Indian, New Zealand, South African, Zambian and Zimbabwean speakers. I think none of your examples is desirable, and so what? – Robbie Goodwin Oct 6 '17 at 21:00
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Speakers of British English would understand the usage, but not use it naturally themselves.

  • The sense in question, i.e. "bring honour to" is not recorded in British dictionaries. – Apollyon Oct 5 '17 at 22:21
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    @Apollyon - A lot of US English isn't recorded in British dictionaries. However our TVs show a vast range of American programmes and American news stories, and hence I suspect there are few people in Britain who don't recognise most US English. – AndyT Oct 6 '17 at 10:16
  • @Apollyon 'I've noticed that major American dictionaries have the following senses of honor that capture the above examples: The Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary: to regard or treat (someone) with respect and admiration : to show or give honor to (someone) The Merriam-Webster Dictionary: to confer honor on The American Heritage Dictionary: To confer distinction on' and 'The sense in question, i.e. "bring honour to" is not recorded in British dictionaries. ' are incompatible when Collins has 'to confer a distinction upon' and MacMillan (BrE) has ... – Edwin Ashworth Oct 7 '17 at 11:52
  • 'to show your respect or admiration for someone, especially by giving them a prize or a title, or by praising them publicly': She will be honoured for her work in promoting friendship between the two countries. // We are here today to honour the men and women who gave their lives for their country. – Edwin Ashworth Oct 7 '17 at 11:52

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