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honourable mention

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishhonourable mentionˌhonourable ˈmention British English, honorable mention American English noun [countable]  GETGOOD/EXCELLENTa special honour in a competition for work that was of high quality but did not get a prize
Examples from the Corpus
honourable mentionRickenbacker deserves an honourable mention for the most significant non-advance in design.Both projects were shortlisted and received an honourable mention in the 1991 awards.
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