An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipient as a token of recognition
in a certain field.
When the token is a medal
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
, or rosette (decoration)
. It can also be a token object such as certificate
, championship belt
, 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 honour
able way. An award may be conferred as a state decoration
by sovereign state
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 award
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 tournament
s often take the form of cup
s, following a tradition harking back to the ancient Greek tripod given to winners in athletic contests. The Stanley Cup
is a modern example. In contrast, awards for employee recognition often take the form of plaques or crystal pieces. 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
A relative field to awards is phaleristics
, an auxiliary science of history
which studies orders
and award items
, such as medals
and other decorations.
*Lists of awards
**Military awards and decorations
**Civil awards and decorations
*** Ecclesiastical award
*** Ecclesiastical decoration
*Order of precedence