- a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement: the humor of a situation.
- the faculty of perceiving what is amusing or comical: He is completely without humor.
- an instance of being or attempting to be comical or amusing; something humorous: The humor in his joke eluded the audience.
- the faculty of expressing the amusing or comical: The author's humor came across better in the book than in the movie.
- comical writing or talk in general; comical books, skits, plays, etc.
- humors, peculiar features; oddities; quirks: humors of life.
- mental disposition or temperament.
- a temporary mood or frame of mind: The boss is in a bad humor today.
- a capricious or freakish inclination; whim or caprice; odd trait.
- (in medieval physiology) one of the four elemental fluids of the body, blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, regarded as determining, by their relative proportions, a person's physical and mental constitution.
- any animal or plant fluid, whether natural or morbid, as the blood or lymph.
- to comply with the humor or mood of in order to soothe or make content or more agreeable: to humor a child.
- to adapt or accommodate oneself to.
- out of humor, displeased; dissatisfied; cross: The chef is feeling out of humor again and will have to be treated carefully.
Origin of humor
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for humorless
“It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys,” she said.It’s Time to Stop Hating Katherine Heigl
November 17, 2014
Queen Victoria had the reputation of being a humorless, dour battleaxe, a Terminator in bombazine.The Cult of Royal Porn
April 26, 2014
Before Dookie, guitar rock meant grunge: heavy, monotonic, humorless, and bleak.How Green Day’s ‘Dookie’ Defined the 1990s and Changed Music Forever
January 31, 2014
In the ADL's defense, it is their job to be humorless, to a large extent.Can the Holocaust be Funny?
April 6, 2013
The New York Times began its review with the words “stolid and humorless.”‘From Up on Poppy Hill’: Goro Miyazaki, the Next Generation of Studio Ghibli
March 15, 2013
A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit.The Devil's Dictionary
It was a stony smile, humorless as a crevasse in a rock-face.Highways in Hiding
George Oliver Smith
While this goes on the fool does not cease to interpolate his humorless jokes.Tolstoy on Shakespeare
Again that curious, humorless smile flickered about the corners of his mouth.The Lost Valley
J. M. Walsh
The captain was grinning, a nasty, evil grin, his eyes hard and humorless as he stood there flanked by three crewmen.Derelict
Alan Edward Nourse
Word Origin and History for humorless
mid-14c., "fluid or juice of an animal or plant," from Old North French humour (Old French humor; Modern French humeur), from Latin umor "body fluid" (also humor, by false association with humus "earth"); related to umere "be wet, moist," and to uvescere "become wet," from PIE *wegw- "wet."
In ancient and medieval physiology, "any of the four body fluids" (blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black bile) whose relative proportions were thought to determine state of mind. This led to a sense of "mood, temporary state of mind" (first recorded 1520s); the sense of "amusing quality, funniness" is first recorded 1680s, probably via sense of "whim, caprice" (1560s), which also produced the verb sense of "indulge," first attested 1580s. "The pronunciation of the initial h is only of recent date, and is sometimes omitted ...." [OED] For types of humor, see the useful table below, from H.W. Fowler ["Modern English Usage," 1926].
|motive/aim||discovery||throwing light||amendment||inflicting pain||discredit||exclusiveness||self-justification||self-relief|
|province||human nature||words & ideas||morals & manners||faults & foibles||misconduct||statement of facts||morals||adversity|
|method/means||observation||surprise||accentuation||inversion||direct statement||mystification||exposure of nakedness||pessimism|
|audience||the sympathetic||the intelligent||the self-satisfied||victim & bystander||the public||an inner circle||the respectable||the self|
1580s; see humor (n.). Related: Humored; humoring.
- A body fluid, such as blood, lymph, or bile.
- Aqueous humor.
- Vitreous humor.
- One of the four fluids of the body, blood, phlegm, choler, and black bile, whose relative proportions were thought in ancient and medieval physiology to determine a person's disposition and general health.
- A person's characteristic disposition or temperament.
- An often temporary state of mind; a mood.
Word History: Doctors in ancient times and in the Middle Ages thought the human body contained a mixture of four substances, called humors, that determined a person's health and character. The humors were fluids (humor means fluid in Latin), and they differed from each other in being either warm or cold and moist or dry. Each humor was also associated with one of the four elements, the basic substances that made up the universe in ancient schemes of thought. Blood was the warm, moist humor associated with the element fire, and phlegm was the cold, moist humor associated with water. Black bile was the cold, dry humor associated with the earth, and yellow bile was the warm, dry humor associated with the air. Illnesses were thought to be caused by an imbalance in the humors within the body, as were defects in personality, and some medical terminology in English still reflects these outmoded concepts. For example, too much black bile was thought to make a person gloomy, and nowadays symptoms of depression such as insomnia and lack of pleasure in enjoyable activities are described as melancholic symptoms, ultimately from the Greek word melancholia, excess of black bile, formed from melan-, black, and khole, bile. The old term for the cold, clammy humor, phlegm, lives on today as the word for abnormally large accumulations of mucus in the upper respiratory tract. Another early name of yellow bile in English, choler, is related to the name of the disease cholera, which in earlier times denoted stomach disorders thought to be due to an imbalance of yellow bile. Both words are ultimately from the Greek word chole, bile.
Idioms and Phrases with humorless
see out of sorts (humor).