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Some of the trophies earned by the NJROTC unit of Port Charlotte High School. NJROTC Awards.jpg
Some of the trophies earned by the NJROTC unit of Port Charlotte High School.

An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition of excellence in a certain field. [1] [2] When the token is a medal, ribbon or other item designed for wearing, it is known as a decoration.


An award may be described by three aspects: 1) who is given 2) what 3) by whom, all varying according to purpose.

The recipient is often to a single person or a representative of a group of people, be it an organisation, a sports team or a whole country. The award item may be a decoration, that is an insignia suitable for wearing, such as a medal, badge, or rosette (award). It can also be a token object such as certificate, diploma, championship belt, trophy, or plaque. The award may also be or be accompanied by a title of honor, as well as an object of direct value such as prize money or a scholarship.

Furthermore, an honorable mention is an award given, typically in education, that does not confer the recipient(s) a higher standing but is considered worth mentioning in an honourable way. An award may be conferred as a state decoration by sovereign state, dynasty or other public authority (see fount of honour), or else a private organisation or individual. The latter may also include ecclesiastical authorities, such as in the case of ecclesiastical awards.

For example, the Nobel Prize recognizes contributions to society, while the Pulitzer prize honors literary achievements. An award may also simply be a public acknowledgment of excellence, without any tangible token or prize.

Awards for sports tournaments often take the form of cups, following a tradition harking back to the ancient Greek tripod given to winners in athletic contests. [3] The Stanley Cup is a modern example. In contrast, awards for employee recognition often take the form of plaques or crystal pieces. [4] An award may carry a monetary prize given to the recipient.

Finally, an award may recognize participation rather than victory. There is controversy regarding the appropriateness of participation awards for students in United States schools. [5]

A relative field to awards is phaleristics, an auxiliary science of history and numismatics which studies orders, fraternities and award items, such as medals and other decorations.

See also

Related Research Articles

The Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it has been retained by all later French governments and régimes.

The Australian honours and awards system refers to all orders, decorations, and medals, as instituted by Letters patent from the Monarch of Australia and countersigned by the Australian Prime Minister at the time, that have been progressively introduced since 14 February 1975. The Australian honours and awards system excludes all state and local government, and private, issued awards and medals.

Medal Small commemorative artistic object

A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are given as awards. They may be intended to be worn, suspended from clothing or jewellery in some way. They may be struck like a coin by dies or die-cast in a mould.

Padma Vibhushan Second highest civilian award of the Republic of India

The Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award of the Republic of India, after the Bharat Ratna. Instituted on 2 January 1954, the award is given for "exceptional and distinguished service", without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex. The award criteria include "service in any field including service rendered by Government servants" including doctors and scientists, but excluding those working with the public sector undertakings. As of 2020, the award has been bestowed on 314 individuals, including seventeen posthumous and twenty-one non-citizen recipients.

The Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India, preceded by the Bharat Ratna and the Padma Vibhushan and followed by the Padma Shri. Instituted on 2 January 1954, the award is given for "distinguished service of a high order...without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex." The award criteria include "service in any field including service rendered by Government servants" including doctors and scientists, but exclude those working with the public sector undertakings. As of 2020, the award has been bestowed on 1270 individuals, including twenty-four posthumous and ninety-seven non-citizen recipients.

Trophy Reward for a specific achievement

A trophy is a tangible, durable reminder of a specific achievement, and serves as a recognition or evidence of merit. Trophies are often awarded for sporting events, from youth sports to professional level athletics. In many sports medals are often given out either as the trophy or along with more traditional trophies.

Royal Victorian Chain Award

The Royal Victorian Chain is a decoration instituted in 1902 by King Edward VII as a personal award of the monarch. It ranks above the Royal Victorian Order, with which it is often associated but not officially related. Originally reserved for members of the Royal Family, the chain is a distinct award conferred only upon the highest dignitaries, including foreign monarchs, heads of state, and high-ranking individuals such as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Nishan-e-Imtiaz First-highest civilian award of Pakistan

The Nishan-e-Imtiaz is one of the state organized civil decorations of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It is awarded for achievements towards world recognition for Pakistan or outstanding service for the country. However, the award is not limited to citizens of Pakistan and, while it is a civilian award, it can also be awarded to military personnel and worn on the uniform. Nishan, translates as Decoration/Order, is a highly restricted and prestigious award roughly equivalent to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Order of the British Empire, and is the first category award of Order of Imtiaz. The other three descending categories are Hilal-i-Imtiaz, Sitara-i-Imtiaz and Tamgha-e-Imtiaz. Usually, it is regarded as the highest award one can achieve in Pakistan since the higher award Nishan-e-Pakistan is awarded only to foreign Heads of States.

Orders, decorations, and medals of India Award

The Indian honours system is the system of awards given to individuals for a variety of services to the Republic of India. The categories of awards are as follows:

The Australian Sports Medal is an award given to recognise achievements in Australian sport to commemorate Australian participation in major sporting events. Original recipients of the award included competitors, coaches, sports scientists, office holders, and people who maintained sporting facilities and services. During the original period of its award in 2000–2001, over 18,000 medals were awarded. The award was permanently reactivated in 2020 to commemorate Australian contributions and participation in major multi-sport events.

Hilal-i-Imtiaz Second-highest civilian award of Pakistan

The Hilaal-e-Imtiaz, also spelled and transliterated as Hilāl-e-Imtiyāz), is the third-highest civilian award and honour given to both civilians and military officers of the Pakistan Armed Forces by the Government of Pakistan. It recognises individuals who have made an "especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of Pakistan, world peace, cultural or other significant public endeavors". It is a civilian award, and not limited to the citizens of Pakistan.

The United States Department of State, like other agencies of the U.S. federal government, gives civilian decorations for outstanding service, sacrifice, or heroism. The criteria for the awards are set down in 3 FAM 4820 - Foreign Affairs Manual, 3 FAM - Personnel, section 3 FAM 4800 Department Awards Program.

Ecclesiastical award

An Ecclesiastial award is an official award, honor or privilege presented by ecclesiastical authority. In the Eastern Orthodox Church certain official awards and honours may be bestowed upon members of the clergy and laity. Such awards are bestowed either by the ruling bishop under whose jurisdiction the recipient resides, or—in the case of higher awards— by a synod of bishops.

The South Korean honors system includes orders of merit, medals of honor, and commendations conferred by the South Korean government onto its citizens and foreigners.

The Honours and Awards System of Samoa has its basis in the Merit Act 1992/1993 and the Honours and Awards Act 1999. From 1914 to 1962, Samoa was governed as the Western Samoa Trust Territory by the United Kingdom and New Zealand. During this time, awards of the British honours system were made to select individuals. For example, the first Prime Minister of Samoa, Fiame Mata'afa Faumuina Mulinu'u II was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and Le Mamea Matatumua Ata, a framer of the constitution of Samoa, was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire on the New Zealand list in the 1960 Birthday Honours.


  1. "Definition of award in English". English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  2. "Meaning of "award" in the English Dictionary". Cambridge Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  3. Sowder, Amy (April 2008). "Ancient Greek Bronze Vessels". Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  4. "Corporate Awards: A Beginner's Guide". Viking Trophies Awards and Recognition. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  5. Ross, Martha (25 September 2015). "Should kids in sports get trophies just for participating?". The Mercury News. Retrieved 1 May 2019.

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