- 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 for humor on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for humor
As ever, Jon Stewart and The Daily Show crew encouraged us to find some humor alongside the horror and the shame.Jon Stewart Laughs to Keep From Vomiting at the CIA Report
Jack Holmes, The Daily Beast Video
December 13, 2014
Some cuts, a few slight character changes, an idea or two about putting some humor into the script.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days
December 13, 2014
Women also reported initiating sex more frequently with partners who had a sense of humor.Was 2014 the Year Science Discovered The Female Orgasm?
December 6, 2014
There are moments of humor even, and friendship and love, and there are moments of religion, or lack of religion.‘Walking Dead’ Showrunner Scott Gimple Teases ‘Darker, Weirder’ Times Ahead
December 2, 2014
But he also kept his sense of humor, some of it self-deprecating.Despite Crack and Graft, D.C. Loved ‘Hizzoner’ Marion Barry
November 23, 2014
He did not believe Hines; yet he had to humor him, in a measure.Biography of a Slave
It is not humor that is irreverent, but the mind that gives it the wrong turn.Weighed and Wanting
They recognized the humor hidden in the answer, and enjoyed it.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
Rosenfeld eyed him suspiciously, but, possessing a sense of humor also, he grinned.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
But either Epimetheus had not heard the tap, or was too much out of humor to notice it.The Paradise of Children
Word Origin and History for humor
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 humor
see out of sorts (humor).