“honourable” and “honorary”

An “honorary” degree is a degree that is given to you as an honour; you haven’t really worked for it. In other words, you haven’t really earned it.

The word “honorary” has another meaning as well. When you hold an “honorary” position in an organisation, you do not get paid for the work you do. In other words, you offer your services for free.

*The Prime Minister was awarded an honorary doctorate. *Jai is the honorary President of his old college. *Nirmala is the honorary secretary of the club.

When someone does something “honourable”, he does something that is worthy of honour; he does something that is commendable or noble.

*According to Mani, acting is not an honourable profession. *The Chief Minister did the honourable thing by resigning. An honourable politician is an oxymoron.

These are just some of the differences between the two words.

The Hindu- ‘Know Your English’ Series, July 12, 2004.


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