Our noun honor comes from the eleventh-century word onur, which had more of a definition of "glory" or "fame". That, through Old French onor, traces to Latin honos, also meaning "position" and "reputation". The word-initial letter h was originally lost because people weren't pronouncing it (much like today), but when classical languages started making a comeback in the fifteenth century, people started reattaching it to look fancier. Honos has an unknown origin, but probably derives from a similar Proto-Indo-European root sounding like gon. You surely have noticed that most non-American countries spell honor as honour; that's because early Noah Webster dictionaries preferred the shorter word while British lexicographer Samuel Johnson wrote the u in his dictionaries, and the US and UK just stuck with those forms, respectively.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a rising junior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.