I'm missing out on a word that I recently read in an essay. It meant more than what the receiver deserved.

Used in context :

The doting professor gave me the {{Insert Word}} title of The Next Stephen Hawkings. Of course I was flattered but I did not believe it to be true.

PS: I've been told "generous" might be the word. But I think it was different and caught the essence of the matter well.

  • 1
    Undue, undeserved.
    – TimR
    Nov 8, 2015 at 10:34

3 Answers 3


"Honorary title" is the phrase you're looking for. This means that while the title is not strictly earned or completely accurate it is being used as a token of affection and respect. For example, Frank Sinatra was called "The Chairman of the Board" even though he was a singer and not a business tycoon.

However, I don't think you should be using "title" in this context since that implies a degree of formality that isn't warranted. And it's this implied formality that's causing the problem.

A better phrasing would be "My professor gave me the nickname of The Next Stephen Hawking" or, better yet, "My professor nicknamed me The Next Stephen Hawking".

Using "nickname" instead of "title" conveys that a professor is doting on a promising young student and is only using the name "The Next Stephen Hawking" in a semi-serious (if complimentary) manner.


How about flattering which means censorious insincerely praising as in

Many religious organizations of our time have various flattering titles and addresses which are given to their leaders such as Your Eminence, Most Reverent, Worshipful Master.

However, I'd rephrase my sentence and use too flattering a title, [the title] as in

Some have given him the appellation of the Moliere of Italy, but this perhaps is too flattering a title.

I don't intend to be rude but if you badly feel that you don't deserve this title, you can use undeserved. According to Macmillan Dictionary, if something is undeserved, you get it although you should not, because you have not done anything to deserve or to cause it as in

He has an undeserved reputation for being difficult to work with.

an undeserved victory.


Perhaps the word that you are looking for is exorbitant or excessive.

Though, I would like to correct a few errors in your passage:

The doting professor gave me the exorbitant title of "The Next Stephen Hawking". Of course I was flattered, but I did not believe it to be true.

  • 1
    I think this is a good answer, but I don't know that excessive can be used to describe a title. You can give excessive praise, or have an excessive number of titles, but I wouldn't use excessive with just one thing.
    – ColleenV
    Dec 8, 2015 at 20:24
  • @ColleenV - In this case, the act of bestowing the title is an act of praise. And any act can be excessive, or excessively (something). Apr 3, 2016 at 22:18

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