Honorifics in Korean appear as verbal inflections and have traditionally been considered markers of politeness. This study extends the traditional view of honorifics as politeness markers that reflect the conversational context, and explores the idea that honorifics interact with the contextual features to construct pragmatic meaning. Native Korean speakers reported different inferred meanings of “did very well” and “did very poorly” based on the normative or non-normative honorific forms. Significant effects of non-normative honorifics were found in positive assessments: over-polite honorifics brought negative interpretations. This result is inconsistent with previous explanations of honorific usage as discernment or volitional politeness. Rather, it suggests that pragmatic listeners interpret utterances based on the interaction between literal meanings, honorifics, and the normativity of the honorifics within a relationship context, to obtain an estimate of the speaker’s intended meaning. This study suggests a probabilistic approach and attempts to explain non-literal meaning inferences as the result of listeners treating the honorifics as signals of potential communicative goals.