Senior Member
This is from the book "Negotiate This" by Herb Cohen.
I'm wondering what the unlined part says. Any comments would be appreciated.

Instead of saying “How much does he want?” or “What do we have to pay?” she inquired softly, “So what would Herb’s honorarium be?” Our initial reaction was, “Honorarium? What the hell is that?” Being somewhat familiar with Latin I know that when you translate it into English it means “You’re getting less.” And the reason I know that, is when people are offering me more honor that’s going to leave over less “arium.” Fortunately, the people in our office don’t know Latin so they came back with the standard astronomical fee.
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    It's a joke. An honorarium is a fee. It often refers to a token payment--something that isn't much but is paid as a formality.

    The speaker's making a joke by splitting it up into two parts. He/she's saying the first part refers to honour, and that when someone offers someone the chance to get honour, it means they won't pay much money, and he/she's pretending the second part, arium, refers to money.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    What's the context? Honorarium is a very common term in academia, arts, nonprofits, or speakers bureaus. If the author here is coming from a business background and dealing with a cultural organization, especially one that wants him to work for less, he may be making fun of the language of a world he doesn't regularly move in.

    I doubt he is truly unfamiliar with the term. He's joking.
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