An honorific is a title that conveys esteem or respect for position or rank when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term "honorific" is used in a more specific sense to refer to an honorary academic title. It is also often conflated with systems of honorific speech in linguistics, which are grammatical or morphological ways of encoding the relative social status of speakers.

Typically, honorifics are used as a style in the grammatical third person, and as a form of address in the second person. Use in the first person, by the honored dignitary, is uncommon or considered very rude and egotistical. Some languages have anti-honorific (despective or humilific) first person forms (expressions such as "your most humble servant" or "this unworthy person") whose effect is to enhance the relative honor accorded to the person addressed.

Modern English honorifics

The most common honorifics in modern English are usually placed immediately before a person's name. Honorifics which can be used (both as style and as form of address) include, in the case of a man, "Mr" (irrespective of marital status), and in the case of a woman the honorific may depend on her marital status: if she is unmarried, it is "Miss", if she has been married it is "Mrs", and if her marital status is unknown, or it is not desired to specify it, "Ms". Someone who does not want to express a gender with their honorific may occasionally use Mx, Ind. or Misc..

In the U.S., these terms are styled with a period ("Mr." or "Mrs.") because they were originally abbreviations (of "Mister" and "Mistress"). "Ms." is also styled with a period for consistency. In Great Britain, periods are typically not used.

Other honorifics may denote the honored person's occupation, for instance "Doctor", "Esquire", "Captain", "Coach", "Officer", "The Reverend" for all clergy or "Father" (for a Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, or Anglican Christian priest), "Rabbi" for Jewish clergy, or Professor.[a] Holders of an academic Doctorate such as PhD are addressed as "Doctor" (abbreviated Dr). "Master" as a prefix ahead of the name of boys and young men up to about 16 years of age is less common than it used to be, but is still used by older people addressing the young in formal situations and correspondence.

Some honorifics act as complete replacements for a name, as "Sir" or "Ma'am", or "Your Honor". Subordinates will often use honorifics as punctuation before asking a superior a question or after responding to an order: "Yes, sir" or even "Sir, yes, sir."

Judges are often addressed as "Your Honor" (or "Honour" in Commonwealth jurisdictions) when on the bench, and the style (in the United States) is "His/Her Honor" the plural form is "Your Honors". If the judge also has a higher title, that may be the correct honorific to use, for example, in Britain: "Your Lordship". Judges on the U.S. Supreme Court are addressed as "Justice".

Similarly, a monarch (ranking as a king/queen or emperor) and his/her consort may be addressed or referred to as "Your/His/Her Majesty", "Their Majesties", etc. (but there is no customary honorific accorded to a female monarch's consort, as he is usually granted a specific style). Monarchs below kingly rank are addressed as "Your/His/Her Highness", the exact rank being indicated by an appropriate modifier, e.g. "His Serene Highness" for a member of a princely dynasty, or "Her Grand Ducal Highness" for a member of a family that reigns over a grand duchy. Verbs with these honorifics as subject are conjugated in the third person (e.g. "you are going" vs. "Your Honor is going" or "Her Royal Highness is going".) Protocol for monarchs and aristocrats can be very complex, with no general rule; great offence can be given by using a form that is not exactly correct. There are differences between "Your Highness" and "Your Royal Highness"; between "Princess Margaret" and "The Princess Margaret". All of these are correct, but apply to people of subtly different rank. An example of a non-obvious style is "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother", which was an official style, but unique to one person.

In music, a distinguished conductor or virtuoso instrumentalist may be known as "Maestro".

In aviation, pilots in command of a larger civil aircraft are usually addressed as "Captain" plus their full name or surname. This tradition is slowly diminishing in the United States and most EU countries. However, many countries, especially in Asia, follow this tradition and address airline pilots, military pilots, and flight instructors exclusively as "Captain" even outside of the professional environment. In addition, such countries' etiquette rules dictate that this title must be placed on all the official letters and social invitations, business cards, identification documents, etc. In the United States, when addressing a pilot, common etiquette does not require the title "Captain" to be printed on official letters or invitations before the addressee's full name. However, this is optional (akin to "Esq" after an attorney's name, in the U.S.) and may be used where appropriate, especially when addressing airline pilots with many years of experience.

Occupants of state and political office may be addressed with an honorific. A monarch may be addressed as His/Her Majesty, a president as Your Excellency or Mr/Madam President, a minister or secretary of state as "Your Excellency" or Mr/Madam Secretary, etc. A prime minister may be addressed as "the Honorable". In the UK, members of the Privy Council are addressed as "the Right Honourable ...". A member of Parliament or other legislative body may have particular honorifics. A member of a Senate, for example, may be addressed as "Senator". The etiquette varies and most countries have protocol specifying the honorifics to be used for its state, judicial, military and other officeholders.

Former military officers are sometimes addressed by their last military rank, such as "Captain", "Colonel", "General", etc. This is generally only adopted by those officers who served in at least the rank equivalent of Major.

Honorifics in other languages and cultures


In areas of East Africa, where the Bantu language Swahili is spoken, mzee is frequently used for an elder to denote respect by younger speakers. It is used in direct conversation and used in referring to someone in the third person.

While Swahili is Bantu, it is highly influenced by Arabic and Hindi languages and cultures. Babu is a prefix honorific used with elders, similar to mzee, but may also mean grandfather. Other prefix honorifics are ndugu, for brother or a close male friend, and dada for a sister or close female friend; thus, John and Jane would be Ndugu John and Dada Jane, respectively.

Amongst the Akan ethnic groups of West Africa's Ghana, the word nana is used as an aristocratic pre-nominal by chiefs and elders alike.

In Yorubaland, also in West Africa, the word ogbeni is used as a synonym for the English "mister". Titled members of the region's aristocracy are therefore called oloye instead, this being the word for "chief". Although the former of the two titles is only used by men, aristocrats of either gender are addressed using the latter of them.

Ancient Rome

Some honorifics used by Ancient Romans, such as Augustus, turned into titles over time.


During the ancient and imperial periods, Chinese honorifics varied greatly based on one's social status, but with the end of Imperial China, many of these distinctions fell out of colloquial use. Some honorifics remain in use today, especially in formal writings for the court and business settings.

In addition, the use of honorifics varies greatly across Chinese-speaking regions in the world. In Taiwan, for example, honorifics are more widely used in daily interactions. In Mainland China, however, honorifics tend to recede to formal settings.


Indian honorifics abound, covering formal and informal relationships for commercial, generational, social, and spiritual links. Honorifics may be prefix, suffix, or replacement types. There are many variations.

  • Prefix type: The most common honorifics in India are usually placed immediately before the name of the subject. Honorifics which can be used of any adult of the appropriate sex include Sri (also Romanised as Shri, acronym for Sriman), Smt (acronym for Srimati), and Kum (acronym for Kumari). In Punjab, Sardar is used for Sikh men and Sardarni for Sikh women. In Tamil, Thiru (acronym of Thiruvalar for men) and Thirumathi (for women) are used.In Telugu Chi.La.Sou (Chiranjeevini Lakshmi Soubhagyavathi) is commonly used by elders to mention before the names of younger women. In India honorifics mostly comes prior to the name of object.
  • Replacement type: Some honorifics, like Bhavān or Bhavatī, act as complete replacements for a name. For example, in Gujarati, for an uncle who is your mother's brother, the replacement honorific maama (long "a" then short "a") is used, and a male friend will often earn the suffix honorific of bhai.
  • Suffix type:
    • The traditional Hindi honorific is the suffix -ji. For example, M.K. Gandhi (the Mahatma) was often referred to as Gandhi-ji. (Hindi, like many languages, distinguishes between pronouns for persons older in age or status. Such a person is referred as aap; a person of same status is called tum (both translating as "you" in English, but similar in principle to the vous/tu distinction in French or the usted/ distinction in Spanish). A similar distinction exists for third person pronouns. When honorifics are attached in Hindi, the verb matches the plural case.)
    • The traditional Bengali honorific for ordinary men is the suffix Babu (বাবু), used with the person's given (first) name. Thus, Shubhash Basu would be Shubhash-Babu. For men with whom one has a more formal relationship, the suffix Moshai (মশাই) (mohashoi (মহাশয়)) is used with the person's family (last) name. Thus, Shubhash Basu would be Basu-Moshai.
    • The traditional Kannada honorific is the suffix -avaru. For example, Visveswariah was referred to as Visveswariah-avaru.
    • The traditional Marathi honorific is the suffix -rao. For example, Madhav Scindia was referred to as Madhav-rao.
    • The traditional Tamil honorific is the suffix Avargal. Dalai Lama would become Dalai Lama Avargal.
    • The traditional Telugu honorific is the suffix Garu. Thus, Potti Sriramulu would be Potti Sriramulu Garu.


Italian honorifics are usually limited to formal situations. Professional titles like Ingegnere (engineer) are often substituted for the ordinary Signore (mister), while Dottore (doctor) is used very freely for any graduate of a university. Honorifics lose their e ending when juxtaposed to a surname: e.g., dottor Rossi, cardinal Martini, ragionier Fantozzi. People in high religious positions, such as the Pope or cardinals, are addressed as Sua Santità Cardinal/Papa (His holiness Cardinal/Pope).


こちらは先程見られた所です (8317997240)
Mi-rareta (Sonkeigo)

The word in Japanese for honorifics, keigo (敬語), is used in Japanese everyday conversations. Japanese honorifics are similar to English, with titles like "Mister" and "Miss", but in Japanese, which has many honorifics, their use is mandatory in many formal and informal social situations. Japanese grammar, as a whole, tends to function on hierarchy; honorific stems are appended to verbs and many nouns, primarily names, and in many cases one word may be exchanged for another word entirely with the same verb- or noun-meaning, but with different honorific connotations.

In Japan, there are three rough divisions of honorifics:

  • Teineigo (丁寧語), the most popular keigo that is used in daily life, used as a formal and polite way of speaking to others in general. It is usually used when the speaker does not know the other person well. Under teineigo there is also bikago (美化語, beautiful, clean language) which is used when people simply want to speak in a polite way regardless of the age or class of the other person.
  • Sonkeigo (尊敬語) is another type of keigo. It is used to make the person who is being spoken to in a higher position. It is mainly used at work and when speaking with teachers. In the past, this was a type of language that was formed based on the classes Japanese society used to have. Saikoukeigo (ja:最高敬語) is the highest sonkeigo that exists and it is only used for the Japanese emperor, his family members and equivalent foreign nobles.
  • Kenjougo (謙譲語) lowers the position of the speaker or the subject of the conversation, and is primarily used at workplace and in the academia. This is also specifically used when the person is much older or in a higher position than the speaker, or often when one apologizes to someone else.


Indonesia's Javanese majority ethnicity has many honorifics.[1] For example:

  • Bang or Bung is a somewhat outdated, egalitarian term to refer to a brotherhood among men. Bang is Betawi language for Mas.
  • Bapak and its contraction Pak meaning: "Sir", "Mister", or literally "Father".
  • Bapak Cilik and its contraction Pak lik are used for a very familiar friend or sir; they literally meaning "small father" or a relative younger than one's father.
  • Bapak Gede and its contraction Pak de are used for a big father, uncle, or relative older than one's father, meaning literally "Grand Sir".
  • Bendara Raden Mas, Bendara Mas, or the contraction 'ndoro, meaning "Prince, flag-bearer 'His Highness'".
  • Eyang Putera Kakung and its contraction Eyang Kakung meaning "grandfather", literally "Grand Sir".
  • Eyang Puteri and its contraction Eyang meaning "grandmother", literally "Grand Lady".
  • Ibu and its contraction Bu meaning: "Madam", "Ma'am", "Ms.", or "Mrs.", and literally meaning "Mother".
  • I Gusti means "His or Her Royal Majesty"
  • Kyai is an honorific used with a highly respected Muslim cleric (same as mullah in Iran and maulana in South Asia).
  • Mbak yu and the more common mbak are derived from Surakarta court. Initially used to address unmarried women who are adolescents or of marriagable age, they are now used with all women, with no age or marital status connotation.
  • Mbok is not an honorific; it denotes an older woman of very low status, in some cases a domestic worker.
  • Raden Behi, contracted to Den Behi, means "Heir Apparent" and is now obsolete.
  • Raden Emas and its contraction Mas denote: "Mr." among colleagues, friends, and others of slightly higher age or social status, meaning literally "Golden Son", "Lord", or "Heir Apparent".
  • Raden Emas Behi, contracted to Mas Behi, means "Second Heir Apparent" and is now obsolete.


Korean honorifics are similar to Japanese honorifics, and similarly, their use is mandatory in many formal and informal social situations. Korean grammar as a whole tends to function on hierarchy; honorific stems are appended to verbs and some nouns, and in many cases, one word may be exchanged for another word entirely with the same verb- or noun-meaning, but with different honorific connotations. Linguists say that there are six levels of honorifics in Korean but, in daily conversation, only four of them are widely used in contemporary Korean. Suffix -si-(시) is used at most honorific verbs, but not always. It is considered very impolite and offensive not to use honorific sentences or words with someone who is older or has a higher social status, and most Koreans avoid using non-honorific sentences with someone they have met for the first time. In Korean, names, first or last, always precede a title, e.g., Park Sonsaengnim, Park Kwanjangnim, etc.


A complex system of Titles and honorifics is extensively used in the Malay language-speaking cultures in Brunei and Malaysia. In contrast Singapore, whose Malay royalty was abolished by the British colonial government in 1891, has adopted civic titles for its leaders.


Pakistan has numerous honorific forms that may be used with or as a substitute for names. The most common honorifics in Pakistan are usually placed immediately before the name of the subject or immediately after the subject. There are many variations across Pakistan.

  • Prefix type: The traditional Urdu honorific in Pakistan for a men is the prefix Mohtaram. For example, Syed Mohammad Jahangir would become Mohtaram Syed Mohammad Jahangir. The traditional Urdu honorific in Pakistan for a woman is the prefix Mohtarama. For example, Shamim Ara would become Mohtarama Shamim Ara.
  • Suffix type: The traditional Urdu honorific in Pakistan for a men is the suffix Sahab. For example, Syed Zaki Ahmed would become Syed Zaki Ahmed Sahab. The traditional Urdu honorific in Pakistan for a woman is the suffix Sahiba; for instance, Shamim Ara would become Shamim Ara Sahiba.

Persian cultures

Persian honorifics generally follow the second name, especially if they refer to gender or particular social statuses (e.g., Name Agha [Mr.], Name Khanom [Ms.], Name Ostad [teacher or cleric], Name Rayis [manager, leader or director]). Such honorifics are used both in formal and informal situations. A more formal honorific referring to gender would be Jenab [His Excellency], which preceds Name Agha [Mr.] and Sarkar [Her Excellency], which precedes Name Khanom [Ms.]. A newer honorific is Arjomand [esteemed], which comes after other honorifics (except those referring to gender), and is not gender-specific (e.g., Ostad Arjomand Name Surname, or Rayis Arjomand Sarkar Khanom Name Surname). They are generally used in very formal situations.


The usage of Filipino honorifics differs from person to person, though commonalities occur like the occasional insertion of the word po or ho in conversations, and their dependence on age-structured hierarchies. Though some have become obsolete, many are still widely used in order to denote respect, friendliness, or affection. Some new "honorifics", mainly used by teenagers, are experiencing surges in popularity.

The Tagalog language has honorifics like Binibini/Ate ("Miss", "Big sister"), Ginang/Aling/Manang (“Mrs.”, "Madam"), Ginoo/Mang/Manong/Kuya ("Mister", "Sir", "Big brother") that have roots in Chinese culture.

Depending on one's relation with the party being addressed, various honorifics may be used.

As such addressing a man who is older, has a higher rank at work or has a higher social standing, one may use Mr or Sir followed by the First/ last/ or full name. Addressing a woman in a similar situation as above one may use “Miss”, or “Madam” and its contraction “Ma'am”, followed by First/ last/ or full name. Older married women may prefer to be addressed as “Mrs.” The use of Sir/Miss/Madam or Ma’am, followed by the first name, nickname, or surname is usually restricted to Filipino vernacular and social conversation, even in television and film. Despite this, non-Filipinos and naturalized Filipinos (such as expat students and professionals) also address older people in the Filipino way.

On a professional level, many use educational or occupational titles such as Architect, Engineer, Doctor, Attorney (often abbreviated as Arch./Archt./Ar., Engr., Dr. [or sometimes Dra. for female doctors], and Atty. respectively) on casual and even formal bases. Stricter etiquette systems frown upon this practise as a sign of Filipino professionals' obsession with flaunting their educational attainment and professional status.[2] Despite this, some of their clients (especially non-Filipinos) would address them as simply Mr. or Mrs./Ms. followed by their surnames (or even Sir/Ma'am) in conversation. It is very rare, however, for a Filipino (especially those born and educated abroad) to address Filipino architects, engineers, and lawyers, even mentioning and referring to their names, the non-Philippine (i.e. international standard) way.

Even foreigners who work in the Philippines or naturalized Filipino citizens, including foreign spouses of Filipinos, who hold some of these titles and descriptions (especially as instructors in Philippine colleges and universities) are addressed in the same way as their Filipino counterparts, although it may sound awkward or unnatural to some language purists who argue that the basic titles or either Sir or Ma'am/Madam are to be employed for simplicity, as they are unnecessary when he or she is included in a list of wedding sponsors, or when his or her name appears in the list of officials of a country club or similar organization. They are uncalled for in public donations, religious activities, parents-teachers association events, athletic competitions, society pages of newspapers, and in any activity that has nothing to do with one’s title or educational attainment.[2] It is also acceptable to treat those titles and descriptions (except Doctor) as adjectival nouns (i.e., first letter not capitalized, e.g. architect <name>) instead.

Even though Doctor is really a title in standard English, the "created" titles Architect, Attorney, and Engineer (among other examples) are a result of vanity (titles herald achievement and success; they distinguish the title holder from the rest of society) and insecurity (the title holder's achievements and successes might be ignored unless announced to the public),[2] even due to historical usage of pseudo-titles in newspapers when Filipinos first began writing in English.

Possible reasons are firstly, the fact the English taught to Filipinos was the “egalitarian” English of the New World, and that the Americans who colonized the Philippines encountered lowland societies that already used Iberian linguistic class markers like "Don" and "Doña." Secondly, the fundamental contradiction of the American colonial project. The Americans who occupied the Philippines justified their actions through the rhetoric of "benevolent assimilation". In other words, they were only subjugating Filipinos to teach them values like American egalitarianism, which is the opposite of colonial anti-equality. Thirdly, the power of American colonialism lays in its emphasis on education – an education that supposedly exposed Filipinos to the "wonders" of the American way of life. Through education, the American colonial state bred a new elite of Filipinos trained in a new, more "modern", American system. People with advanced degrees like law or engineering were at the apex of this system. Their prestige, as such, not only rested on their purported intelligence, but also their mastery of the colonizer’s way of life. This, Lisandro Claudio suspects, is the source of the magical and superstitious attachment Filipinos have to attorneys, architects and engineers. The language they use is still haunted by their colonial experience. They linguistically privilege professionals because their colonizers made us value a certain kind of white-collar work.[3] Again, even expatriate professionals in the Philippines were affected by these reasons when they resided and married a Filipino or were naturalized so it's not unusual for them to be addressed Filipino style.

Spanish-speaking cultures

Spanish has a number of honorific forms that may be used with or as substitutes for names, such as señor or caballero ("Mr.", "Sir", "Gentleman"); señora ("Madam", "Mrs.", "Lady", "ma'am") and señorita ("Miss", "young lady"); licenciado for a person with bachelor's or a professional degree (e.g., attorneys and engineers); maestro for a teacher, master mechanic, or person with a master's degree; doctor ("doctor"); etc. Also used is don (male) or doña (female) for people of rank or, in some Latin American countries (e.g., Puerto Rico), for any senior citizen. In some Latin American countries, like Colombia, "Doctor" is used for any respected figure regardless of whether they have a doctoral degree (for instance Colombian presidents are often referred to as Doctor ___); likewise "Maestro" is used for artistic masters, especially painters.

Additionally, older people and those with whom one would speak respectfully (e.g., one's boss or teacher), are often addressed as usted, a formal/respectiful way of saying "you" (e.g. Dra. Polo, ¿cómo está usted? Dr. Polo, how are you?). The word usted historically comes from the honorific title vuestra merced (literally "your mercy"). Intimate friends and relatives are addressed as . In some regions, addressing a relative stranger as can be considered disrespectful or provocative, except when it's directed to a person notably younger than the speaker, or in an especially informal context.


Pingelapese is a Micronesian language spoken on the Pingelap atoll and on two of the eastern Caroline Islands, called the high island of Pohnpei. Pingelapese does not employ many honorifics into their speech. Their society is structured in a way that everyone is seen as equal, most likely due to the fact that there are so few of them due to emigration. There is no structured hierarchy to enforce the use of honorific speech. There are not many polite vocabulary words and the language they use can be classified as a commoners’ language.

However, among the Micronesian languages, Pohnpeian is the only language that uses a thoroughly developed honorific speech. This demonstrates that a highly structured hierarchical society was very important in their culture. There are multiple ways that Pohnpeic speakers show respect through their language. In the Pohnpeic language there is royal language, which is used for the two highest-ranking chiefs. Next, respect honorifics are used with other superiors and people who are considered respected equals. There is not only the use of honorifics, but humiliative language as well, which is used to lower oneself below higher-ranking people, showing respect and reverence. This speech was lost in Pingelap when Pohnpei speakers migrated to the Pingelap atoll and adapted their more casual way of speaking.

Even though the younger generation of Pingelapese speakers does not use honorific speech, elders in the language report being taught a form of ‘language of respect.’ This language was to be used to address elders and leaders in the community. Women were also told to use it towards their brothers and with their children. Phrases could be made polite by adding the second person singular possessive suffix –mwi. Other ways to utilize honorific speech is by changing words entirely.[4]


The most common honorifics used in Thailand are used to differentiate age between friends, family and peers. The following represent some of the most commonly used.

คุณ (khoon)(Middle Tone) is used the same way as Mr / Mrs or Miss. It is a formal way to refer to persons not overly familiar. It is also used as a pronoun for the word "You"

พี่ (Pee)(Falling Tone) is used when speaking to or about an older sibling or friend. It is used for both men and women and can also be used when referring to oneself if they are older than the addressee(s)

น้อง(Naawng)(High Tone) is the exact opposite of the above. It is use when speaking to or about a younger sibling or friend. It is used between both men and women and can also be used when referring to oneself if the person speaking is younger than the addressee(s).

ครู (Khruu)(Middle Tone) is used when addressing a teacher, translating literally to "Teacher".

อาจารย์ (Aah-jarhn)(Middle Tone both syllables) is used to address a professor. It is used much in the same way as Khruu however Aa-jarhn holds a little more esteem. It generlly refers to someone who is a master in their field. Many Theravada Buddhist scholars and those who have dedicated their lives to Theravada Buddhism assume this title amongst their followers.

พระ (Prah)(High Tone) This is perhaps one of the highest honorifics in Thai culture. It is reserved for monks and priests. It is also allows for use when referring to a most revered place or object such as a temple or palace.


Turkish honorifics generally follow the first name, especially if they refer to gender or particular social statuses (e.g. Name Bey [Mr.], Name Hanım [Ms.], Name Beyefendi [literally meaning "Lord Master"], Name Hanımefendi [literally meaning "Lady Master"], Name Hoca [teacher or cleric], Name Öğretmen [solely for teacher]). Such honorifics are used both in formal and informal situations. Another honorific is Sayın/Muhterem [esteemed], which precedes the surname or full name, and is not gender-specific. (e.g. Sayın/Muhterem Name Surname, or Sayın/Muhterem Surname). They are generally used in very formal situations.


Honorifics in Vietnamese are more complex compared to Chinese, where the origins of many of these pronouns can be traced, and many have fallen out of usage or have been replaced due to the changing times. An honorific, or a pronoun, in Vietnamese when referring to a person acts as a way to define two peoples' degree of relationship with one another. Examples of these pronouns include 'chị' older sister, 'ông' male elder and 'chú' younger uncle (younger brother of father/only used on father's side). The exclusive use of the Vietnamese words for 'I' and 'you' are considered informal and rude. Rather honorifics are used to refer to oneself and to others. These terms generally differ from province to province, or region to region. As with East Asian tradition, the surname is written prior to the given name (i.e., Hoang Khai Dinh: Hoang is the surname and Khai Dinh is the given name). This occurs in all formal situations. However, placing the surname last has become a commonality in order to cater to westerners, for example, on social media sites such as Facebook. When referring to a person as Mr or Mrs (teacher, painter, etc.) as in the English tradition of 'Mr Hoang', the given name is more commonly used e.g., "Mr Khai Dinh") in order not to cause confusion. This is due to many Vietnamese sharing the same surname (e.g., up to 40% of Vietnamese share the surname Nguyen).


Wuvulu-Aua does not normally incorporate honorifics as it is reserved for only the utmost respect. Originally without any honorifics, the semantics of pronouns change depending on the social context. In particular, the second person dual pronoun is used as an honorific address. The dual reference communicates that the second person is to be respected as two people. This honorific is typically reserved for in-laws. It is undocumented if any other honorifics exist beyond this one.[5]


Opposition and alternatives

People who have a strong sense of egalitarianism, such as Quakers and certain socialists, and others, eschew honorific titles. When addressing or referring to someone, they often use the person's name, an informal pronoun, or some other style implying social equality, such as "brother", "sister", "friend", or "comrade". This was also the practice in Revolutionary France and socialist countries which used Citoyen[ne] ("Citizen") as the manner of address.

Feminist criticism of the use of separate honorifics for married and unmarried women (Mrs. and Miss) has led to some women's adopting the honorific "Ms."

The all-inclusionary honorific Mx has been adopted by some, particularly in the UK, applying to any human regardless of gender, occupation, rank, social status, or other social/cultural factors.

See also

Culturally specific usage

General usage



  1. ^ Note that US/Canadian usage of professor differs from most of the rest of the English-speaking world. See Professor for details.


  1. ^ Errington, James Joseph (1998). "Shifting languages: interaction and identity in Javanese Indonesia". Studies in the social and cultural foundations of language. Cambridge University Press (19). ISBN 0-521-63448-2.
  2. ^ a b c Avecilla, Victor (12 April 2014). "What's in a title and a degree?". the New Standard (formerly Manila Standard Today). Archived from the original on 27 April 2014. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  3. ^ Claudio, Lisandro (6 September 2010). "The Honorable peculiarities of Filipino English". GMA News Online. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  4. ^ Hattori, Ryoko (2012). Preverbal Particles in Pingelapese. Ann Arbor. pp. 41–42. ISBN 9781267817211.
  5. ^ Hafford, James A. Wuvulu Grammar and Vocabulary (PDF). pp. 59–60. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
Augustus (title)

Augustus (plural augusti; ; Classical Latin: [awˈɡʊstʊs], Latin for "majestic", "the increaser" or "venerable") was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius (often referred to simply as Augustus), Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, and was so used by Roman emperors thereafter. The feminine form Augusta was used for Roman empresses and other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion. Their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, and may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult.

In Rome's Greek-speaking provinces, "Augustus" was translated as sebastos (σεβαστός, "venerable"), or Hellenised as Augoustos (αὔγουστος). After the fall of the Roman Empire, Augustus was sometimes used as a name for men of aristocratic birth, especially in the lands of the Holy Roman Empire. It remains a given name for males.

Burmese names

Burmese names lack the serial structure of most modern names. The Bamars have no customary patronymic or matronymic system and thus there is no surname at all. In the culture of Myanmar, people can change their name at will, often with no government oversight, to reflect a change in the course of their lives. Also, many Burmese names use an honorific, given at some point in life, as an integral part of the name.

Chinese honorifics

Chinese honorifics and honorific language (敬辞 (jìngcí),谦辞 (qiāncí),婉辞 (wǎncí),客套语 (kètàoyǔ),雅语 (yáyŭ)) are words, word constructs, and expressions in the Chinese language that convey self-deprecation, social respect, politeness, or deference. Once ubiquitously employed in ancient China, a large percent has fallen out of use in the contemporary Chinese lexicon. The promotion of vernacular Chinese during the New Culture Movement (新文化运动 or 五四文化运动) of the 1910s and 1920s in China further hastened the demise of a large body of Chinese honorifics previously preserved in the vocabulary and grammar of Classical Chinese.

Although Chinese honorifics have simplified to a large degree, contemporary Chinese still retains a sizable set of honorifics. Many of the classical constructs are also occasionally employed by contemporary speakers to convey formality, humility, politeness or respect. Usage of classical Chinese honorifics is also found frequently in contemporary Chinese literature and television or cinematic productions that are set in the historical periods. Honorific language in Chinese is achieved by using honorific or beautifying alternatives, prefixing or suffixing a word with a polite complement, or by dropping casual-sounding words. In general, language referring to oneself exhibits self-deprecating humbleness - called 谦语 (qiānyŭ) ("humble language"), while language referring to others shows approval and respect - called 敬语 (jìngyǔ) ("respectful language"). Other types of honorific language include 婉语 (wǎnyŭ) ("indirect language"), 客套语 (kètàoyǔ) ("courteous language"), and 雅语 (yáyŭ) ("elegant language") that are often used to convey a sense of respect, courtesy, or elegance.

Because of its official status as the common language of China, Mandarin Chinese is used herein synonymously with the term "contemporary Chinese". Variations in usage and grammar exist in the numerous modern Chinese dialects.


Chowdhury is a hereditary title of honour originating in the Indian subcontinent. They have governed major areas of the Indian subcontinent before and during British India.

Don (honorific)

Don (Spanish: [don], Italian: [dɔn], Portuguese: Dom [dõ], from Latin dominus, roughly 'Lord'), abbreviated as D., is an honorific prefix primarily used in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Latin America, and the Philippines.

Don, and dom, is derived from the Latin Dominus; a master of a household, a title with background from the Roman Republic in the Antiquity. With the abbreviated form having emerged as such in the Middle Ages, traditionally it is reserved for Catholic clergy, nobles, in addition to certain educational authorities, and persons of distinction.

The female equivalent is Donna (Italian: [ˈdɔnna]), Doña (Spanish: [ˈdoɲa]), and Dona (Portuguese: [ˈdonɐ]), abbreviated D.ª, Da., or simply D. It is a common honorific reserved for women, such as the First Lady of Brazil. In Portuguese "Dona" tend to be less restricted in use to women than "Dom" is to men.


Hajji (الحجّي) (sometimes spelled Hadji, Haji, Alhaji, Al hage, Al hag or El-Hajj) is a title which is originally given to a Muslim person who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca. It is also often used to refer to an elder, since it can take time to accumulate the wealth to fund the travel (particularly before the advent of mass air travel), and in many Muslim societies as an honorific title for a respected man. The title is placed before a person's name; for example Joshua Omo becomes Hajji Joshua Omo.

"Hadži" is also used in Christian Orthodox religion for people who go on pilgrimage to the grave of Christ in Jerusalem. It can then be added to the pilgrim's first name, e.g., Hadži-Prodan.

Hajji is derived from the Arabic ḥājj, which is the active participle of the verb ḥajja ("to make the pilgrimage"). The alternative form ḥajjī is derived from the name of the Hajj with the adjectival suffix -ī, and this was the form adopted by non-Arabic languages. In some areas the title has become a family name, for example in the Bosniak surname Hadžiosmanović ("son of Hajji Osman").

Honorific speech in Japanese

The Japanese language has many honorifics, referred to as keigo (敬語, literally "respectful language"), parts of speech that show respect. Their use is mandatory in many social situations. Honorifics in Japanese may be used to emphasize social distance or disparity in rank, or to emphasize social intimacy or similarity in rank.

The system of honorifics in Japan is very extensive, including various levels of respectful, humble, and polite speech, and it closely resembles the honorific systems of the Korean language and, in some elements, Chinese. It includes both special vocabulary and special grammatical forms.

Japanese honorifics

The Japanese language makes use of honorific suffixes when referring to others in a conversation. These suffixes are attached to the end of names, and are often gender-neutral. Honorific suffixes also indicate the level of the speaker and referred individual's relationship and are often used alongside other components of Japanese honorific speech, called keigo (敬語).

Jazz royalty

Jazz royalty is a term encompassing the many jazz musicians who have been termed as exceptionally musically gifted and informally granted honorific, "aristocratic" or "royal" titles as nicknames. The practice of affixing honorific titles to the names of jazz musicians goes back to New Orleans at the start of the 20th century, before the genre was commonly known as "jazz".


Jonkheer (female equivalent: jonkvrouw; French: Écuyer) is an honorific in the Low Countries denoting the lowest rank within the nobility. In the Netherlands, this in general concerns a prefix used by the untitled nobility. In Belgium, this is the lowest title within the nobility system, recognised by the Court of Cassation. It is the cognate and equivalent of the German noble honorific Junker, which was historically used throughout the German-speaking part of Europe, and to some extent also within Scandinavia.


Junker (Danish: Junker, German: Junker, Dutch: Jonkheer, English: Yunker, Norwegian: Junker, Swedish: Junker) is a noble honorific, derived from Middle High German Juncherre, meaning "young nobleman" or otherwise "young lord" (derivation of jung and Herr). The term is traditionally used throughout the German-speaking, Dutch-speaking and Scandinavian-speaking parts of Europe. It also was used in the Russian Empire due to Baltic German influence, up until the Russian Revolution.

Korean honorifics

The Korean language reflects the important observance of a speaker or writer's relationships with both the subject of the sentence and the audience. Korean grammar uses an extensive system of honorifics to reflect the speaker's relationship to the subject of the sentence and speech levels to reflect the speaker's relationship to the audience. Originally, the honorifics expressed the differences in social status between speakers. In contemporary Korean culture, honorifics are used to differentiate between the formal and informal speech based on the level of familiarity between the speaker and the listener.

Myanmar English

Myanmar English is the register of the English language used in Myanmar, spoken as first or second language by an estimated 2.4 million people, about 5% of the population (1997).

Order (distinction)

An order is a visible honour awarded by a sovereign state, monarch, dynastic royal house or organisation to a person, typically in recognition of individual merit, that often comes with distinctive insignia such as collars, medals, badges, and sashes worn by recipients.

Modern honour systems of state orders and dynastic orders emerged from the culture of orders of chivalry of the Middle Ages, which in turn emerged from the Catholic religious orders.

Pir (Sufism)

Pir or Peer (Persian: پیر‎, lit. 'old [person]', 'elder') is a title for a Sufi master or spiritual guide. They are also referred to as a Hazrat or Shaikh, which is Arabic for Old Man. The title is often translated into English as "saint" and could be interpreted as "Elder". In Sufism a Pir's role is to guide and instruct his disciples on the Sufi path . This is often done by general lessons (called Suhbas) and individual guidance. Other words that refer to a Pir include, Murshid (Arabic: مرشد‎, meaning "guide" or "teacher"), Sheikh and Sarkar (Persian word meaning Master, Lord). In Alevism, Pir's are considered a direct descendant of Ali.

The title Peer Baba (पीर बाबा) is common in Hindi used to give a salutation to Sufi masters or similarly honored persons. After their death people visit their tombs (dargah) (मक़बरा) maqbara).

The path of Sufism starts when a student takes an oath of allegiance with a teacher called Bai'ath or Bay'ah (Arabic word meaning "transaction") where he swears allegiance at the hands of his Pir and repents from all his previous sins. After that, the student is called a Murid (Arabic word meaning committed one). From here, his batin (inward) journey starts.

A Pir usually has authorizations to be a teacher for one (or more) tariqahs (method). A Tariqah may have more than one Pir at a time. A Pir is accorded that status by his Shaikh by way of Khilafat or Khilafah (Arabic word meaning succession). Khilafat is the process in which a Shaikh identifies one of his disciples as his successor (khalifah). A Pir can have more than one khalifah. The term Pir is also used by Nizari Ismailis whose missionaries in the past have used the title Pir. The current Nizari Ismaili Imam Agha Khan is also the Pir within the Nizari Ismaili Shia sect.


Rinpoche, also spelled Rimboche and Rinboku (Tibetan: རིན་པོ་ཆེ་, Wylie: rin po che, THL: Rinpoché, ZYPY: Rinboqê), is an honorific term used in the Tibetan language. It literally means "precious one", and may be used to refer to a person, place, or thing--like the words "gem" or "jewel" (Sanskrit Ratna).

The word consists of rin(value) and po(nominative suffix) and chen(big).

The word is used in the context of Tibetan Buddhism as a way of showing respect when addressing those recognized as reincarnated, older, respected, notable, learned and/or an accomplished Lamas or teachers of the Dharma. It is also used as an honorific for abbots of monasteries.


Sayyid (also spelt Saiyed, Seyit, Seyd, Said, Syed, Sayed, Sayyed, Saiyid, Seyed and Seyyed) (Arabic: سيد‎ [ˈsæj.jɪd], Persian: [sejˈjed]; meaning "Mister"; plural: Saadat or Sadat Arabic: سادة‎ sādah is an honorific title denoting people (feminine version: sayyidah سيدة) accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his cousin Imam Ali through his grandsons, Imam Hasan ibn Ali and Imam Husayn ibn Ali (combined Hasnain), sons of Muhammad's daughter Fatimah and son-in-law Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib).Female sayyids are given the titles Sayyida, Syeda, Alawiyah or Sharifa. In some regions of the Islamic world, such as in India, the descendants of Muhammad are given the title Amir or Mir, meaning commander, general. The descendents of the Islamic Prophet Muhammed honour the possession of family trees tracing back their ancestry. In other regions, they are called Shah. Children of a Sayyida mother but a non-Sayyid father are referred to as Mirza.In the Arab world, sayyid is the equivalent of the English word "liege lord" or "master" when referring to a descendant of Muhammad, as in Sayyid Ali Sultan. The word sidi (from the contracted form sayyidī, 'my liege') is often used in Arabic.Although not verified, many Arabic language experts state that it has its roots in the word Al Asad الأسد, meaning lion, probably because of the qualities of valour and leadership.Although reliable statistics are unavailable, conservative estimates put the number of Sayyids in the tens of millions.The Sayyids are by definition a branch of the Banu Hashim, that traces its lineage to Adnan and therefore it is directly descended from Ishmael (Ismâ`îl), as well as being collaterally descended from his paternal half brother Isaac (Isha'aq), the sons of Abraham (Ibrahim).

Banū Hāshim (Arabic: بنو هاشم) is the clan of prophet Muhammad ; his great-grandfather was Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, for whom the clan is named. Members of this clan are referred to as Hashemites. Descendants of Muhammed usually carry the titles Sayyid, Syed, Hashmi, Sayed and Sharif, or the Ashraf clan (synonymous to Ahl al-Bayt).

Today, two sovereign monarchs – Abdullah II of Jordan and Muhammad VI of Morocco – and the erstwhile royal family of Libya are also considered to be a part of Banu Hashim.

The Hashemites (Arabic: الهاشميون, Al-Hāshimīyūn; also House of Hashim) are the ruling royal family of Jordan. The House was also the royal family of Syria (1920), Hejaz (1916–1925) and Iraq (1921–1958). The family belongs to the Dhawu Awn, one of the branches of the Hasanid Sharifs of Mecca – also referred to as Hashemites – who ruled Mecca continuously from the 10th century until its conquest by the House of Saud in 1924. Their eponymous ancestor is Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, great-grandfather of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad.

Traditionally, Islam has had a rich history of the veneration of relics, especially of those attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The most genuine prophetic relics are believed to be those housed in Istanbul's Topkapı Palace, in a section known as Hirkai Serif Odasi (Chamber of the Holy Mantle).


Sheikh ( SHAYK, SHEEK; Arabic: شيخ‎ šayḫ [ʃajx], mostly pronounced [ʃeːx], plural شيوخ šuyūḫ [ʃuju:x])—also transliterated Sheik, Shykh, Shayk, Shaykh, Cheikh, Shekh, and Shaikh—is an honorific title in the Arabic language. It commonly designates the ruler of a tribe, who inherited the title from his father. "Sheikh" is given to a royal male at birth and the related title "Sheikha" is given to a royal female at birth.

The Right Honourable

The Right Honourable (The Rt Hon. or Rt Hon.) is an honorific style traditionally applied to certain persons and collective bodies in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, some other Commonwealth realms, the Anglophone Caribbean, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and occasionally elsewhere. The term is predominantly used today as a style associated with holding certain senior government offices in the United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand.

"Right" in this context is an adverb meaning "to a great extent or degree".

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English social honorific titles

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