Definition of dishonor in US English:


(British dishonour)


  • A state of shame or disgrace.

    ‘they have brought dishonor upon our family’
    • ‘I decided way back at the beginning, back when I was still washing dishes in a barbecue joint in Harlem, that the work I did would never bring dishonour to my father's name.’
    • ‘It brought such shame and dishonor to the entire family.’
    • ‘The Kels, who had always welcomed me as one of them, felt I had brought deep dishonor upon their people.’
    • ‘‘Better be dead and forgotten,’ he concluded dramatically, ‘than living in shame and dishonor!’’
    • ‘Killing them was a way of dealing with the grave dishonour and disgrace that they had visited on his family.’
    • ‘Perhaps even more important, severe maltreatment could bring shame and dishonour on the neighbourhood.’
    • ‘She will, above all else, never bring shame or dishonor to her family.’
    • ‘This was his own decision with all the political toll that such a policy of dishonour and strategic nonsense will extract.’
    • ‘I would never willfully visit dishonor upon our house, but I will not abandon them.’
    • ‘Every record I can find seems to think this was unjust, but the monks were intent upon his dishonour, for they blamed him.’
    • ‘The idea that they can even say those words without burning up at the shame of their own dishonour and double standards staggers me.’
    • ‘Secondly, being convicted brought not only shame and dishonour on the accused, but on his wife and children as well.’
    • ‘Many others may not have been reported due to fear of dishonour, further humiliation or the high-handed dismissal of complaints.’
    • ‘Still throughout the eighteenth century, even the most liberal commentators did not entirely lift the stigma of dishonor from insolvency.’
    • ‘I won't name you because I don't want to unfairly bring dishonor to your organization.’
    • ‘I am looked upon with disgrace and dishonor because of my past.’
    • ‘If they flinch during the act, boys bring shame and dishonor to themselves and their family.’
    • ‘I therefore swore that I would never do anything to bring dishonour upon a woman.’
    • ‘Indeed, if he chooses to stay on as boss despite his previous comments, he will cover himself in dishonour and will never be forgiven by many fans.’
    • ‘To the pain of defeat, Louis XV added the shame of dishonour.’
    disgrace, shame, discredit, humiliation, degradation, ignominy, scandal, infamy, disrepute, ill repute, loss of face, disfavour, ill favour, unpopularity, ill fame, notoriety, debasement, abasement, odium, opprobrium, obloquy
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[with object]
  • 1Bring shame or disgrace on.

    ‘the mayor dishonors his good battle by resorting to sniping’
    • ‘You're going to take the shame of dishonoring your kingdom to your grave, I promise you that.’
    • ‘We have no idea what kinds of shops are going to be in it and while it may not be a desecration, it dishonours the memory of what happened there,’ she said.’
    • ‘He knew he had disgraced himself and dishonored everything an FBI agent should stand for.’
    • ‘‘Nobody has made me any proposals in that sense,’ the ambassador said, noting that the allegations dishonour his reputation.’
    • ‘Among gay men claiming that sexuality was a big factor in immigrating, ‘the first thing they feared was deep shame about dishonoring and hurting their families’ by coming out.’
    • ‘They are dishonoring the dead with their irresponsible behavior.’
    • ‘In private my friend often rails against her family's demands, but publicly she is too afraid to dishonour them.’
    • ‘If anything you have dishonored me for bringing me to be a part of this family.’
    • ‘To sweep it under the carpet and pretend it never happened would only dishonour those, the majority, who are a credit to the country they serve.’
    • ‘To allow the few who dishonour our country to become a reflection of our entire nation is to distort history.’
    • ‘From time immemorial despots have imprisoned their opponents under particularly cruel conditions; they have tortured them, dishonored them, debased and executed them.’
    • ‘To run the risk of being dishonoured at my age is untenable.’
    • ‘But as we know, both profits and prophets in our own country are liable to be dishonoured, however well disposed.’
    • ‘With every line of his statement, epic memories of past greatness were dishonoured and uprooted.’
    • ‘However, the women were furious, and the elderly man had been dishonored and humiliated.’
    • ‘Not to register and vote is to shame and dishonor our heroes.’
    • ‘I think if someone is totally dishonoured in their private life, you should be able to decide if you want them to lead you.’
    • ‘Quite rightly we did not want our national flag to be dishonoured or cheapened in any way.’
    • ‘His army career is in tatters, his regiment and family are dishonoured and his girlfriend has reportedly left him.’
    • ‘The government did not want to dishonour any great figure and bring politics into the field of education, he said.’
    disgrace, bring dishonour to, bring discredit to, bring shame to, shame, embarrass, humiliate, discredit, degrade, debase, lower, cheapen, drag down, drag through the mud, blacken the name of, give a bad name to, show in a bad light
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    1. 1.1archaic Violate the chastity of (a woman); rape.
      • ‘Virginius, a well-respected knight, murders his daughter, Virginia, when he realizes that she has been dishonored and raped.’
      • ‘I have every right to challenge you to single combat for dishonoring her.’
      • ‘The leader spoke out against ‘crimes of honor,’ specifically the murder of a woman by her husband whom she had allegedly dishonored by immodest or otherwise unacceptable behavior.’
      • ‘But after that, I was so scared of dishonoring her, I insisted that for a month we only meet in the kitchen garden in full view of the convent!’
      • ‘Now, her brother, a soldier named Valentine, vowed revenge against the lover who had dishonored his sister.’
      persuading someone to have sexual intercourse, taking away someone's innocence
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  • 2Fail to observe or respect (an agreement or principle)

    ‘the community has its own principles it can itself honor or dishonor’
    • ‘For a long time, the people lived under a martial law rule that dishonored human rights.’
    • ‘There is evidence that the three planned from the outset to dishonour the bail undertakings, which they made only after diplomatic pressure.’
    • ‘In the West, contractual obligations are seldom dishonoured.’
    • ‘The absence of a clear understanding about those root causes largely explains why several would-be peace agreements ended up dishonoured or discarded.’
    • ‘Mr Jones said while he and his wife had been paid back the money they gave the man, they still lost more £6,000, after being forced to sell their timeshare when the deal was dishonoured.’
    • ‘However, the reality is far from ideal in that the principle has been quite often dishonored, mostly in cases involving powerless ordinary people.’
    • ‘‘The Government has dishonoured that promise, just as they dishonoured the housing commitments in the previous agreement,’ he said.’
    • ‘If the company is forced to dishonour its commitments with these customers it could severely damage their credibility with these customers and raise doubts in their minds about their reliability.’
    • ‘He took the view that presentment took place at the later time, as presentment had to be made to a person entitled to decide whether to pay or dishonour the instrument.’
    • ‘Lack of consensus about the root causes of the recurrent internal wars largely explains why many peace agreements have been dishonoured or not sustained.’
    • ‘They dishonoured his contract and the new team certainly haven't covered themselves in glory.’
    1. 2.1 Refuse to accept or pay (a check or a promissory note).
      • ‘A number of those cheques were dishonoured because there were insufficient funds, but she was able to continue because of good financial history.’
      • ‘The complaint would be maintainable where the cheque is dishonoured with remark ‘Account Closed’.’
      • ‘Criticisms were made that the decision to honour or dishonour cheques was no longer made by experienced bankers with the necessary skills, but passed on to less experienced bank staff to cut costs and save time.’
      • ‘Its main business was the safe but dull bills discounting - a sound and a profitable business as traders all over the country rarely ever dishonour their bills.’
      • ‘Although he apparently waited for confirmation from his bank that the cheque had cleared before making the payments, he was subsequently advised that the cheque was fraudulent and had been dishonoured.’
      • ‘But the cheque was dishonoured by the bank concerned.’
      • ‘The Bank dishonoured a number of cheques drawn by its client and sent a fax contending that his debit balance was in excess of his facility.’
      • ‘A paying bank may dishonour the cheque - refuse to pay it - if the customer is not in funds, or if there is not a sufficiently agreed overdraft at the time it is presented.’
      • ‘People issue cheques but many a time these are dishonoured.’
      • ‘Better yet, you never have to worry about having a cheque being dishonoured.’
      • ‘But he yesterday confirmed that his salary cheque had been dishonoured on May 16, the day after it had been deposited in Pretoria.’
      • ‘The promised payments were not made, and post-dated cheques were dishonoured.’
      • ‘Once a cheque has been dishonoured, the collecting bank is entitled to reverse the provisional credit in its customer's account.’
      • ‘It seems that the bank operated a system of allowing the overdraft to go above the £60,000 by a further £10,000 without dishonouring cheques, but it naturally became concerned when the £60,000 limit was exceeded.’
      • ‘The structure and language of the summary of contentions had some infelicities, but it was clearly enough framed on the basis that the Bank was not entitled to dishonour cheques because the limit was exceeded.’
      • ‘Finally, as a matter of practice, banks dishonour cheques that have been outstanding for a long period of time.’
      • ‘He has now discovered that the cheque has been dishonoured and that the man is in possession of the Renoir.’
      • ‘Last year 31 cheques in the name of development had been dishonoured.’
      • ‘Accordingly, eight cheques were issued to him under various denominations but they were dishonoured by the bank with remarks ‘payment stopped by drawer’.’
      • ‘A week later, still hesitating in a rather noticeable manner before sitting down, the errant batman discovered that his pay-cheque was also dishonoured.’


Middle English: from Old French deshonor (noun), deshonorer (verb), based on Latin honor ‘honor’.