If you greet your bus driver every day by saying, "Good Morning, Ms. Smith!" then you're familiar with honorifics, the respectful titles we add to people's names. In Ms. Smith's case, the honorific is Ms.

The most common honorifics in English are the ones we put in front of names, like Mr., Dr., and Reverend. There are military honorifics such as Captain and General, and religious honorifics, including Rabbi, Father, and Imam. Some honorifics come at the end of a person's name: "Mateo Garcia, PhD," and "Angela Smith, DDS," for example. The word honorific is also an adjective meaning "showing respect," as in an honorific award or an honorific title.

Definitions of honorific

adj conferring or showing honor or respect

honorific social status commonly attaches to membership in a recognized profession”
full of or exhibiting respect

n an expression of respect

“the Japanese use many honorifics
Type of:
expression, formulation
the style of expressing yourself

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.