Honi soit qui mal y pense
"Honi soit qui mal y pense" is a French phrase meaning: "Shamed be he who thinks evil of it". The phrase is sometimes archaically rendered as "Honi soit quy mal y pense", "Hony soyt qe mal y pense" and various other phoneticizations. It is the motto of the English chivalric Order of the Garter. In Modern French it is rendered as "Honni soit qui mal y pense" (the modern conjugation of the verb honnir being honni). It is also written at the end of the manuscript Sir Gawain and the Green Knight but it appears to have been a later addition. Its literal translation from Old French is "Shame be to him who thinks evil of it". It is sometimes re-interpreted as "Evil be to him who evil thinks".
A recent history of the Order of the Garter was written by Prof. Stephanie Trigg and is available here.
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This statement supposedly originated when King Edward III was dancing with his first cousin and daughter-in-law, Joan of Kent. Her garter slipped down to her ankle, causing those around her to snigger at her humiliation. In an act of chivalry Edward placed the garter around his own leg, saying "Honi soit qui mal y pense", and continued "Tel qui s'en rit aujourd'hui, demain s'enhorera de la porter", and the phrase later became the motto of the Order.
It may be understood as 'A scoundrel, who thinks badly by it', or 'Shame on him, who suspects illicit motivation'. Followed by "Those who laugh at this today, tomorrow will be proud to wear it." This makes sense of the founding of the Order.
Other translations include: "Spurned be the one who evil thinks" and "Evil on him who thinks evil"
Heraldic use 
In British heraldry, the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense is used either as a stand alone motto upon a motto scroll, or upon a circular representation of the garter. Knights and Ladies of the Garter are entitled to encircle the shield of their arms with the garter and motto (e.g. The 1st Duke of Marlborough). The latter usage can also be seen in the Royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, with the motto of the Royal arms, Dieu et mon droit, being displayed on a scroll beneath the shield. As part of the Royal Arms, the motto is displayed in many public buildings in Britain and colonial era public buildings in various parts of the Commonwealth (such as all Courts of England and Wales). The Royal Arms (and motto) appear on many British government official documents (e.g. the front of current British passports); on packaging and stationery of companies operating under Royal Warrant (e.g. the banner of the Times, which uses the Royal coat of arms of Great Britain circa 1714 to 1800; and are used by other entities so distinguished by the British monarch (e.g. as the official emblem of the Royal Yacht Britannia).
Several military organisations in the Commonwealth incorporate the motto inscribed upon a garter of the order within their badges (or cyphers) and some use Honi soit qui mal y pense as their motto. Corps and regiments using the motto in this fashion are ('*' indicates usage as a motto in addition to inclusion in the badge):
- British Army: the Royal Horse Artillery; Household Cavalry Regiment; Life Guards (motto appears in the Garter Star representation worn on Life Guard officer's helmets rather than in the unit badge); Blues and Royals; Grenadier Guards*;Coldstream Guards; Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment; Royal Regiment of Fusiliers; Corps of Royal Engineers; and the Royal Logistic Corps (which in April 1993 became an amalgamation of the trades of five corps, which included the Royal Corps of Transport and the Royal Army Service Corps plus the Postal and Courier Services of the Royal Engineers, all of these forming Corps used the motto inscribed garter in their badge).
- Australian Army: the Royal Australian Engineers* (motto is one of two used); Royal Australian Army Service Corps (merged in 1973 into the newly raised RACT (and who did not use the motto), and the Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps);
- Canadian Army: The Royal Regiment of Canada, The Royal Montreal Regiment* and The Canadian Grenadier Guards.
- New Zealand Army: the 6th Hauraki Infantry Regiment.
Other appearances 
The phrase is incorporated into the elaborate figure-head of the HMS Victory, Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship at the historic Battle of Trafalgar.
Between 1895 and 1915, "blue books" were published in Storyville as guides to prostitution for visitors to the New Orleans district services including house descriptions, prices, particular services and the "stock" each house had to offer. The Storyville blue-books were inscribed with the motto: "Order of the Garter: Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (Shame to Him Who Evil Thinks)."
Robert A. Heinlein's novel Friday makes use of the expression in Heinlein's usual irreverent manner. The protagonist, a female secret agent, is asked by her hostess Janet how Friday feels about females (in a sexual connotation). When pressed by males present to hear Friday's response, she claims (falsely) that Friday had whispered "honi soit qui mal y pense" into her ear.
The phrase is framed on the wall of Mrs. Peck's office in Deborah Eisenberg's short story 'The Girl Who Left Her Sock on the Floor' in the collection Transactions in a Foreign Currency.
It appears in Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor", Act V, Scene V.
It appears in Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina", Part 1, Chapter 17.
It appears in the comments of the source code for the master ignition routine of the Apollo 13 lunar module.
"[T]he motto of the English royal house" is found in Will Self's novelette, "Cock," toward the end of the chapter entitled "The Lager of Lamot" as being emblazoned on cans of 'Premier Class' beer.
In 2010, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Donald Tsang quoted "honi soit qui mal y pense" in the old Legislative Council Chamber. He noted the French motto was on the emblem of the British royal coat of arms that used to hang above the Speaker's seat. It was replaced with the SAR emblem in 1997. He said the blast from the past should remind everyone in the chamber to be responsible for how they talk. This was a reaction to several lawmakers' misbehaviour during the Chief Executive's Question and Answer Session. They were soon removed from the chamber.
The phrase if famously parodied via mistranslation, in 1066 and all that, as "Honey, your silk stocking is hanging down."
See also 
- Dieu et mon droit, the motto of the British Monarch
- Ich dien, the motto on the Prince of Wales's feathers
- "wordreference.com". wordreference.com. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- Waldron, Ronald Alan, editor (1970). Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 139. ISBN 978-0-8101-0328-3. OCLC 135649
- "Order of the Garter". Encyclopedia Americana XII. New York: Encyclopedia Americana Corp. 1919. p. 300.
- Thomas, Tayler (1866). "Equites Garterii". The Law Glossary: Being a Selection of the Greek, Latin, Saxon, French, Norman, and Italian Sentences, Phrases, and Maxims, Found in the Leading English and American Reports and Elementary Works: With Historical and Explanatory Notes : Alphabetically Arranged, and Translated into English, for the Use of the Members of the Legal Profession, Law Students, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Etc. Etc. New York: Baker, Voorhis & Co. p. 183. ISBN 1-886363-12-9.
- Fox-Davies, Arthur Charles (1996). "XXXVI Official Heraldic Insignia". Complete Guide to Heraldry (1996 Edition ed.). Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions. pp. 583–84. ISBN 1-85326-365-6. "A Knight of the Garter has: (1) His Garter to encircle the shield..."
- An example of the full heraldic blazon description is provided in "Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: The Royal Regiment of Canada". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage, Canadian Forces. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012. "[A] garter Azure fimbriated buckled and inscribed HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE in letters Or" (A blue garter with gold edges, gold buckle and inscription HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE in gold letters.) However, simplified blazons are also used.
- Robson, Thomas (1830). The British Herald, or Cabinet of Armorial Bearings of the Nobility & Gentry of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume I. Sunderland: Turner & Marwood. p. 401 (CHU-CLA).
- "Scissors for Lefty review in The Times". Scissors for Lefty website. Scissors for Lefty. 5 January 2007. Retrieved 20 Jun 2012. Banner image for The Times;
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- "Artillery Heritage". Southern Gunners website. Royal New Zealand Artillery Association. 25 December 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- Wilkinson-Latham, Robert (2006). Discovering British Military Badges and Buttons (Third Edition ed.). Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire: Shire Books. p. 25. ISBN 0-7478-0484-2. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Welcome". Presenting the Household Cavalry Regiment... Everything You Wanted to Know! website. Peter J Ashman. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "The Grenadier Guards". The Grenadier Guards website. The Grenadier Guards. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Royal Regiment of Fusiliers - Regimental History". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Corps of Royal Engineers Badges and Emblems". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Royal Logistic Corps". British Army website. British Army. 2012. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Royal Army Service Corps & Royal Corps of Transport Association". RASC & RCT Association website. RASC & RCT Association. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Who we are - The Royal Australian Engineers". The Australian Army website. The Australian Army. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Royal Australian Army Service Corps". Digger History website. Digger History. Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Who we are - The Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps". The Australian Army website. The Australian Army. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
- "Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: The Royal Regiment of Canada". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage, Canadian Forces. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "Official Lineages Volume 3, Part 2: The Royal Montreal Regiment". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. Directorate of History and Heritage, Canadian Forces. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "National Defence Website". National Defence. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
- "Sixth Hauraki Battalion Group". New Zealand Army Reserve Website. New Zealand Army. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
- "fatefulvoyage.com". fatefulvoyage.com. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- "Source code for the Apollo 13 lunar module's guidance computer". Ibiblio.org. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- Self, Will. Cock and Bull, Vintage, 1992, p. 96.
- "When Will...". youtube.com. Retrieved 2013-03-03.