A tribute is a sign of respect or admiration, an award to honor a person's accomplishments. A famous director receives a lifetime achievement award as a tribute to his many successful films.
We're most familiar with the use of the word tribute meaning to honor someone with words or an award. You can hear a tribute if you're lucky enough to attend an entertainment awards ceremony, or need to attend a funeral. Students will give a retiring teacher flowers as a tribute to her years of service in education. Tribute can also mean a kind of payment that's given from one nation to another.