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Honour (h silent)

.

A superior seigniory, on which other lordships or manors depend by the performance of customary services.

An affair of honour. A dispute to be settled by a duel. Duels were generally provoked by offences against the arbitrary rules of etiquette, courtesy, or feeling, called the “laws of honour;” and, as these offences were not recognisable in the law courts, they were settled by private combat.

Debts of honour. Debts contracted by betting, gambling, or verbal promise. As these debts cannot be enforced by law, but depend solely on good faith, they are called debts of honour.

Laws of honour. Certain arbitrary rules which the fashionable world tacitly admits; they wholly regard deportment, and have nothing to do with moral offences. Breaches of this code are punished by duels, expulsion from society, or suspension called “sending to Coventry” (q.v.).

Point of honour. An obligation which is binding because its violation would offend some conscientious scruple or notion of self-respect.

Word of honour. A gage which cannot be violated without placing the breaker of it beyond the pale of respectability and good society.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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