do the honors

< Previous | Next >


Senior Member
vietnam vietnamese
I have two sentence I really don't understand.
In the first sentence the thing I don't understand is "do the honors":confused:

I'd be happy if you would do the honors.

Thanks for your help.:)
Last edited by a moderator:
  • jimreilly

    Senior Member
    American English
    "do the honors" is a polite invitation to go ahead and perform some ceremonial function, such as cutting the first cut in a birthday cake, or making a toast at a social function.
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    Australia English
    as well as jimreilly's suggestions, depending on the context,
    "do the honours" can refer to almost any action.

    It is often used in mock seriousness.


    Senior Member
    What does would you do the honors mean?

    Someone holding a piece of paper in his hand asking someone to read it out loud. he says his request this way: would you do the honors?

    Could it be a form of request in normal situations and not necessarily ceremonial functions?

    for example I want to ask my friend to open a window can I use that phrase?

    Thank you so much in advance.


    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    It can't be used in just any situation, it has to be something which is the duty of a particular person, or type of person (e.g., it is the duty of a man to carve the meat at Christmas dinner, and it is the duty of the person whose birthday it is to blow out the candles on their cake, etc). It can't just be any trivial thing like deciding to open a window, although I remember I used to have a teacher who used to say:

    'Can the person nearest the door please close it before we start the class?'.

    Thus it became the duty of whoever was nearest the door to close it before the class started, so he began to simply say 'would you like to do the honours?'. It doesn't matter what the duty is, as long as it is an established expectation of some kind.


    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    We have a thread about the origins of the phrase here:
    Origins of phrase: "do the honours"

    Do the honours is of course in our WR dictionaries too:
    do the honors, to act as host, as in serving at the dinner table: Please do the honors and carve the roast (Random House)
    do the honours ⇒ to serve as host or hostess
    to perform a social act, such as carving meat, proposing a toast, etc (Collins)
    Oxford Dictionaries gives a slightly wider definition:
    do the honours
    serving of food or drink to a guest: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll do the honours.’ She reached for the teapot and poured
    < Previous | Next >