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Prestige is a word commonly used to describe reputation or esteem, though it has three somewhat related meanings that, to some degree, may be contradictory. Which meaning applies depends on the historical context and the person using the word.

Originally, prestige referred to pomposity, which was taken as a sign of poor taste. In this regard, the word had strictly negative connotations. Indeed, the root of the word "prestige" comes from the Latin præstigum, meaning a delusion or a trick. In some Romance languages "prestige" retains this original meaning.

Later, prestige developed a positive meaning: it describes high esteem and a solid reputation. Institutions, awards, and events could be described as "prestigious"; in this case, it would be favorable to be associated with them. Often, "prestige" also carries an air of association with the upper class. This is the use of the word most common today, familiar to all social classes within English-speaking societies.

See also



da:Prestige de:Prestige et:Prestiiž pt:Prestígio sv:Prestige