What does "honor" mean in the following sentence?

The soldier honored his country with 20 years of service.

I'd appreciate your help.

  • did you check a dictionary?
    – Varun Nair
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 8:25
  • Yes. Not sure which sense fits, though.
    – Apollyon
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 8:31
  • @VarunKN Some British speakers find the sentence odd. You are an Indian, so you probably don't have the right intuition on this matter.
    – Apollyon
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 11:09

1 Answer 1


To honor something|someone is to show it|them respect, in word and deed.

To serve one's country can be understood as a form of respect to both the nation and its people, and thus it falls under the rubric of honoring one's country.

The object of the preposition with in "to honor someone|someone with {something}" identifies the specific word(s) and/or deed(s) that evince the respect.

He honored the visiting dignitary with a bow.

He honored his old friend with a eulogy.

He was honored with a plaque for his years of service.

  • How about "Talented athletes honor their countries by winning medals"? Does it make sense? I'm not sure if "honor" can mean "to bring honor to."
    – Apollyon
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 11:33
  • Yes, it makes sense. And those athletes are honored with medals. honor can mean "bring honor to" or "show honor to".
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 11:33
  • Are you a North American? Maybe there's a transatlantic difference, as the British speakers I asked don't recognize that usage.
    – Apollyon
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 11:47
  • Yes, native speaker of AmE. It seems the usage was more common in BrE in the 19th century and earlier than it is today. google.com/…
    – TimR
    Commented Oct 4, 2017 at 11:55

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