A Word A Day : Homage

Sunday, 30th March 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Noun )

Pronunciation : hómmij & ómmij


1. Ceremonial acknowledgment by a vassal of allegiance to his lord under feudal law

2. Special honor or respect shown or expressed publicly

3. A show of reverence and respect toward somebody

Homage was the formal and public acknowledgement by a vassal of his allegiance and obligations to a lord of whom he held land or whose overlordship he accepted. By making an act of homage, the vassal's own rights were deemed to be confirmed by his lord. The ceremony of homage involved the vassal kneeling before his lord, the clasping of hands, the uttering of certain key words which acknowledged lordship, and the kissing which symbolized accord. Homage by the peers of the realm remains part of the coronation service.

Homage (from the French : Hommage) is generally used in modern English to mean any public show of respect to someone to whom one feels indebted. In this sense, a reference within a creative work to someone who greatly influenced the artist would be a homage. It is typically used to denote a reference in a work of art or literature to another, at least somewhat widely known, work. In literature and film, an homage is similar to an allusion, except that whereas an allusion merely refers to another work, an homage typically repeats a recognizable scene or stylistic element from the other work. Homage is also similar to parody, except that parodies typically exaggerate characteristics of previous works for comedic effect.


Middle English, from Old French, probably from omne, homme, man, from Latin - homô, homin


adherence, allegiance, ardor, attachment, bond, conscientiousness, constancy, deference, devotedness, devotion, duty, earnestness, faith, fealty, fidelity, homage, honesty, honor, incorruptibility, integrity, inviolability, obedience, obeisance, patriotism, probity, reliability, resolution, scrupulousness, sincerity, single-mindedness, singleness, staunchness, steadfastness, subjection, submission, support, tie, troth, true-heartedness, trueness, trustiness, trustworthiness, truth, truthfulness, uprightness, zeal,


dishonor, disloyalty, disrespect, faithlessness, scorn, treachery

Contextual Examples:

• The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.

• To the Comtesse Seraphina San Severino, with the respectful homage of sincere and deep admiration.

• Now the councillors and the captains of the People of the Axe konzaed to him whom they named the Slaughterer, doing homage to him as chief and holder of the axe, and also they did homage to the axe itself.

• A Festschrift was presented as an homage to a great teacher.

• In his speech he paid homage to Washington and Jefferson.

Related Words:

homages : Noun - Plural

homager : Noun

homageable : Adjective

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