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Middle English, from Anglo-French homage, omage, from home man, vassal, from Latin homin-, homo human being; akin to Old English guma human being, Latin humus earth


  • 1a : a feudal ceremony by which a man acknowledges himself the vassal of a lord
b : the relationship between a feudal lord and his vassal
c : an act done or payment made in meeting the obligations of vassalage
b : something that shows respect or attests to the worth or influence of another : tribute <his long life filled with international homages to his unique musical talent — People>


Homage or hommage is a show of respect to someone or something.

It was originally a declaration of fealty in the feudal system - swearing that one was the man (French: homme) of the feaudal lord.[1] The concept then became used figuratively for an acknowledgement of quality or superiority. For example, a man might pay homage to a lady, so honouring her beauty and other graces. In German scholarship, followers of a great scholar developed the custom of honouring their mentor by producing papers for a festschrift dedicated to him.[2]

The concept now often appears in the arts where one author shows respect to a topic by calling it an homage, such as Homage to Catalonia. Alternatively, creative artists may show respect to a veteran of the field or to an admired practitioner by alluding to their work.[3] In rock music this can take the form of a tribute album or of a sample.[4] As of 2010 the digital techniques used to generate many forms of media make it easy to borrow from other works and this remediation may be used to pay homage to them.[5]

Feudal homage

In a simple form, swearing homage or fealty exclusively to a single acknowledged superior could strengthen society on clear-cut hierarchical lines. But Bloch notes the effects of "doing homage to several lords, the true scourge of vassalage" as it developed in the 11th and 12th centuries in Europe.[6]

See also


  1. "Homage", Encyclopedia of the Middle Ages, 2
  2. Robin M. Derricourt, An author's guide to scholarly publishing
  3. Umberto Eco, The limits of interpretation
  4. John Shepherd, "Rock Homage", Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World
  5. Richard Grusin, Routledge encyclopedia of narrative theory
  6. Bloch, Marc (1989). Feudal society. Feudal society: The growth of ties of dependence. 1 (2 ed.). Routledge. p. 217. ISBN 9780415039161. Retrieved 2010-10-08.