Prestige

τιμή is used by Homer and Aeschylus to mean honour, bestowed by gods or men as a reward for services. But later, in prose writers, it often denotes price or value, or even the valuation for an assessment.

This semantic shift was noted, with mild outrage, by a sixth former, who went on to investigate similar words in English. One of the words in the thesaurus was prestige.

“Surely,” she said, “prestige is something different.”

I agreed.

“So what’s the difference between prestige and honour?”

A third party, when consulted, gave an immediate answer: “Honour,” she said, “carries the assumption of integrity, but prestige may be suspect.”

This English word prestige, unlike τιμή, seems to have increased in respectability. The OED gives as its first meaning, ‘An illusion; a conjuring trick; a deception, an imposture,’ and derives it from the Latin praestigium (same meaning), which originates with the verb praestringere (oculos), to blindfold or to dazzle.

It is one of a trio of words that have become popularly used in meliorem partem. The others (with earlier meanings given by the OED) are:

glamour: ‘A magical or fictitious beauty attaching to any person or object; a delusive or alluring charm.’

sophistication: ‘The use or employment of sophistry; the process of investing with specious fallacies or of misleading by means of these; falsification.’

Perhaps Chambers Dictionary should have the last word, because the entry contains one of their rare moments of humour:

prestige n standing or ascendancy in people’s minds owing to associations, station, success, etc; charm, magic, glamour (qv); a name or reputation to ‘conjure’ with (see next sense);
orig a conjuring trick or illusion (obs)