Definition of honoris causa in US English:

honoris causa


  • (especially of a degree awarded without examination) as a mark of esteem.

    ‘the artist has been awarded the degree honoris causa’
    • ‘Professor Mark Seaward, Professor of Environmental Biology in the university's department of Environmental Sciences, has been awarded the title of Doctor honoris causa - an honorary doctorate - by the University of Wroclaw.’
    • ‘Madam Chancellor, I have the honour to present Reubina Ann Ballin for the conferment of the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa.’
    • ‘When in 1963 he was made doctor honoris causa of Wayne State University he was described as ‘the illustrious dean of American dance’.’
    • ‘In 1962 the University of Canterbury honoured Ngaio for her writing (fictional and non-fictional) by awarding her a Doctor of Literature honoris causa.’
    • ‘He has also criticized the practice of presenting honoris causa doctoral degrees or of receiving credit for postgraduate programs without attending any classes.’
    • ‘On December 12 Elric Hooper was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters, D Litt, honoris causa.’
    • ‘Cornelia Oberlander will be awarded a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.’
    • ‘The Rector reported that a request has been received from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics to confer the degree of doctor honoris causa in Mathematics and Astronomy upon Mr T J Stieltjes, a former employee of Leiden Observatory.’
    • ‘Three universities (York University in Canada, Poznan Technical University and Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan) conferred upon him the title of doctor honoris causa, in 1974, 1978 and 1983, respectively.’
    • ‘Mugabe was described as ‘one of the great figures of modern Africa’ when he received the degree of doctor honoris causa in 1984, in recognition of educational programmes he instigated in the country.’
    titular, nominal, in name only, in title only, unofficial, token, so-called
    View synonyms


Latin, literally ‘for the sake of honor’.


honoris causa