H-ful words can get mixed up in your head, especially if you are not a native English speaker. You may struggle with the right article, namely "a" or "an." It is even more confusing now that some Americans have adopted the French pronunciation of the word "homage," so this article shows you whether to ditch the "h" in your texts or not.
If you are confused about the word to use between "Omage" and "homage," "homage" is the right spelling that is acceptable. It is the proper word that is used to depict "public respect" or "public honor." Contextually, "homage" refers to admiration, respect, reverence, or acknowledgment.
French pronunciations are gradually mixing with American or British English of similar origins and spellings. When writing or speaking, not knowing whether there is an "h" before the word to pronounce may affect the proper article you use. To avoid second-guessing yourself or leaving it to fate to decide if you are wrong or right, learn as many "h-ful" words as you can, starting with the difference between "omage" and "homage."
What Do The Words "Omage," And "Homage" Mean?
"Omage" is the wrong spelling of "homage." You cannot use the words interchangeably when you want to describe what it means to pay public tribute or respect to someone or something. The proper word to use is "homage," and its article is "a" or "an," depending on the context.
If you find yourself confused about a word and when to use it, you likely do not have a full grasp of what it means. That is why you need to start with the word's etymology and definition. The etymology explains the evolution of the word, while the definition shows you the most appropriate context to use it.
"Homage" is a Middle English word. It also has Old French history, particularly from the word "homage," which explains the confusion. Late and Medieval Latin also contributed to the formation of "homage."
At its most basic form, "homage" is of Latin origin, from the word "homo." In the tradition, vassals knelt before their king and placed their palms on his to signify submission and loyalty to him. This extended the king's protection to their lands and families, but they would forever owe him their undying loyalty. Hence, the word "homage" was created to depict a situation of this nature.
But the payer of "homage" holds the vassal relationship in this case, with less emphasis on eternal servitude and more on reverence and appreciation.
Now, let's look at the definition of "homage" and some synonyms.
The word "homage" means to show tribute or respect to something or someone influential, powerful, or held in high regard. Synonyms include honor, reverence, and tribute. "Homage" is also a French adoption used to describe an emulative artistic work that was not done out of mimicry but respect.
Homage is a deep feeling of respect toward someone or something. This is what it means to hold someone or something in high regard. It is a noun that originates from the public ceremony (feudal ceremony) arranged for Lords, where vassals publicly pledged themselves to their feudal Lords.
You pay homage to a person, thing, or experience. This also means acknowledging your loyalty to a thing or person, admiration for them, and respect for them. Some pronounce it " OM-ij," but the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as "HOM-ij."
You can use "homage," the more recognizable spelling, when writing or speaking.
In contrast, the word "omage" is a variant of the word "homage." The pronunciations are also different – the former lacks an "h" while the former is pronounced with it.
Again, this is contextual, but you do not need to worry about the proper usage because we will soon get right into it. You may find yourself pronouncing it as "omage" sometimes and intending a different meaning. For instance, you cannot say "omage" when referring to the reverence you give to someone or something you respect.
"OM-ij" is what you say when you attempt to pronounce "homage," adopted from the French word for a great imitation of a work of art, intended from a pure place of genuine reverence for the artist.
However, the word does have an "h" when writing the word on paper. But because it begins with a vowel, it takes "an" as its article when the sentence needs an article.
Don't worry; the next subsection will detail how you can use these words and their right spellings interchangeably and in the right context.
How To Properly Use The Words "Omage" And "Homage" In A Sentence
"Homage" is the right word to describe your admiration and eternal respect for something. It is also the word you use to represent a tribute to someone or something.
In other situations, you will likely confuse "homage" for "omage" in your text, and you will be wrong sometimes but also right other times.
Here is the breakdown. When used to indicate that you respect someone, you do something to pay "homage" to them. But when your "homage" is an artwork that imitates an artist, dead or alive, who you consider a mentor or role model.
Then, your work is an "homage." Examples are coming soon.
"Omage" is the variant spelling of "homage." It reflects in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as a variant, which means the word is acceptable but not as appropriate as "homage."
The Words "Homage" And "Omage" Used In Sentences
In the following sentences, we will indicate where the word "omage" is the right pronunciation for the spelling "homage." But in places where the pronunciation should appear as is, nothing will be modified in the sentence.
- The Russian street artist's recreation of The Apostle's Piece is the most beautiful homage (omage) to St Pierson's very own The Apostle's Piece.
- I will create a monument in homage to my dear cat, Tiger. She was the best companion, sister, and therapist. Truly, everything to me.
- To pay homage to someone dear to you, you can write a song to sing their praises, dedicate a song to them on the radio, or adopt a more modern approach like skywriting your appreciation and asking them to look outside.
- The vassals dedicated a whole week to singing the praises of their deceased king because he had protected them and their families with his dying breath. The entire week was to be in homage to their lost warrior, father, husband, and friend.
- I will go to art school in New York someday. My dream is to recreate a perfect homage (omage) of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa. Perhaps I will make it modern to see what his art would be like in the present terms. Imagine Mona Lisa in something trendy.
- The director of that prominent show continues to claim that his best piece was his personal homage to his mentor, who he lost to cancer in 2016.
- Fallen heroes have their names on the wall of fame as an homage to them and their families. This is one of the lasting ways to pay tribute to the loved ones left behind.
- To pay homage to her in-laws, the new Bridgerton bride got on her knees and kissed their clasped palms one after the other.
- The thieves broke into the value to steal the homage (omage) rumored to cost three billion dollars.
- The celebrity donated $10,000,000 to the orphanage in homage to his wife.
The pronunciation of "homage" often splits English language learners into two categories. One pronounces it with the allocated "h," while the other pronounces it without. To find out which is correct, examine the context you want to use it. If the aim is to show your admiration, respect, and undying loyalty to someone, opt for "homage." Meanwhile, you can ditch the "h" when pronouncing the term given to unoriginal artworks recreated not from a place of intellectual theft but from the desire to show reverence.
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.