What ever happened to honor?

Gregory Williams

A&E Assistant Editor


According to Barnhart’s Dictionary of Etymology, the word honor derives via Old French from the stem form of the Latin honōs and later honor; ultimately of uncertain origin. Spelt outside the United States as honour, the spelling used in American English became adopted through the influence of the 19th century American lexicographer, Noah Webster. Honor, with all of its various meanings, commonly denotes high respect, esteem or reverence; as felt, rendered or received. Honor can also be a source of credit or distinction and serve as a form of addressing someone with title, rank or position.

Out of all the meanings of the word, I find a “sense or strict allegiance to what is due or right,” of chief importance (The Oxford Universal Dictionary). The reason I feel compelled to create this dialogue is out of concern for the current state of our culture and politics. Honor has all but disappeared from the equation. On either side, people shout so loud that neither one can hear the other speak. The notion of respecting those who disagree with others seems unfathomable at this juncture. I fear that we are creating a monster within our culture. I have difficulty understanding how silencing and ostracizing those who disagree with a particular party has now become a hallmark of tolerance and inclusion. This new-found religion reeks of hypocrisy.

There is a great splintering of groups concerning the usual suspects: politics, religion, race and sexual orientation. It is unfortunate that there even are sides. Little to no agreement can be found on anything. If guided by a “sense or strict allegiance to what is due or right” is adhered to, maybe we could find middle ground and do what is right and just for us all.


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