Definition of favour in English:

favour

(US favor)

noun

  • 1mass noun Approval, support, or liking for someone or something.

    ‘training is looked upon with favour by many employers’
    • ‘Those at the CIA with more alarmist views gained favor at the White House, while those who were more skeptical lost it.’
    • ‘Mazzini looked to Rome where, to his relief, Pius IX had lost favour with liberals after refusing to condone the war against Austria.’
    • ‘Little girls learn, among other things, about the crucial importance of their appearance to their personal happiness and to their ability to gain favor with their friends.’
    • ‘But those nations have lost favor among depositors in recent years as they have eased bank secrecy laws in response to international pressure.’
    • ‘The union leader observed that students had lost support and favour from members of the public as a result of their riotous and unruly behaviour.’
    • ‘Leaders in Europe should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause.’
    • ‘Barristers depend on their continued favour and good will.’
    • ‘Even more it was a mark of divine favor, for the gods, it was believed, worked through the daimones, emissaries and conductors of their will.’
    • ‘The new arrival from northern Europe won people's favour almost immediately.’
    • ‘With the rise of the orchestra in the mid-17th century the viol family gradually lost favour to the violin.’
    • ‘When the favor of God breathes upon us, there is none of these things which may not turn out to our happiness.’
    • ‘These stations found instant favour with the people as they provided them with the kind of a service that was being denied by the institutionalised system.’
    • ‘This is an album that will find much favour with people who enjoy this genre of music from a singer who renders his songs in a proud Midlands accent.’
    • ‘It was used in sweet dishes more than as a savoury vegetable, but it soon palled and lost favour.’
    • ‘Here are some important factors that combined to draw God's favour down upon His people.’
    • ‘Catholic and Protestant Newfoundlanders took it as a sign - generally, as a mark of divine favor for the Catholic side.’
    • ‘This escalating growth is looked upon with favour by many economic experts.’
    • ‘This is a view of America's role in the world that has found little favor in the Republican party since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.’
    • ‘He intended either to curry renewed favour with Darius or support faltering rebels.’
    • ‘He said winning the customer's favour and loyalty by satisfying their wants, is the need of the hour.’
    • ‘It wasn't until the beginning of the twentieth century that aromatics regained their lost favour.’
    • ‘In 1708 Harley also lost favour, and Anne was forced to admit the Whigs into her administration once again.’
    • ‘Fortunately, this individual has the goodwill and approval of close associates, and most people look upon him with favour.’
    • ‘The theory, initially a popular topic of research, quickly lost favour with the introduction of quantum mechanics.’
    • ‘The emperor eventually became the ultimate patron, and as time went on, without his support and favour, even the most ambitious senator could not hold high office.’
    • ‘Open theism has found some favor with Pentecostals who view it in terms of a spirited give-and-take with God.’
    approval, approbation, commendation, esteem, goodwill, kindness, benevolence, friendliness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Overgenerous preferential treatment.
      ‘he was accused of showing favour to one of the players’
      • ‘The dynamic this week has been in his favor consistently.’
      • ‘The overall balance is likely to continue to shift marginally in China's favour over the next decade.’
      • ‘Both sides of a trial seek bias in their own favour as, according to the film's ads, some cases ‘are too important to be left to juries’.’
      • ‘It is not just unreasonable to be biased in our own favour, it is also naïve.’
      • ‘It is still based upon favour with no relevance whatever to competence or effectiveness.’
      • ‘We certainly hope so - we own it, and are unabashedly biased in its favor.’
      • ‘His petition to the Scottish parliament accuses government bodies meant to regulate the fish farming industry of being biased in its favour.’
      • ‘This pact is utterly one-sided-in Mexico's favor.’
      • ‘It is really important that judges show no favour and no bias.’
      favouritism, bias, partiality, unfair preference, prejudice, partisanship, one-sidedness
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2archaic count noun A thing such as a badge or knot of ribbons that is given or worn as a mark of liking or support.
      ribbon, rosette, badge
      View synonyms
  • 2An act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.

    ‘I've come to ask you a favour’
    • ‘We mistakenly think we will lose a partner's affection by burdening him or her with our requests for favors or acceptance of gifts.’
    • ‘Of course what they really meant was, ‘Do me a favour.’’
    • ‘Offerings and gifts are made to saints and protective spirits for favors in this life.’
    • ‘Do us a favour while you're here: visit my campaign website and sign the petition.’
    • ‘If you're unable to oblige, then the reason why you can't grant the favour should be very good.’
    • ‘Go on do me a favour, do yourself a favour, take that vinyl out of its sleeve.’
    • ‘Do us a favour, get a dictionary and look up what a gradient is.’
    • ‘Although people typically disdain thinking about close relationships in exchange terms, partners often do reciprocate favors and kindnesses toward each other.’
    • ‘Do not offer favors or gifts to families in order to gain access.’
    • ‘His policy was to buy support by granting favours and wide-ranging concessions.’
    • ‘Do me a favour and stop pretending you know me, because you don't.’
    • ‘Bribery refers to the illicit use of rewards, gifts, or favors to pervert judgment or corrupt the conduct of someone.’
    • ‘Feudal ways like offering gifts for favors is widespread and starts early; even parents do it for their kids' teachers.’
    • ‘Do us a favour: Read this book and listen to this tape.’
    • ‘The government gave us an important quest to fulfill before our execution, but we will not return the favor of kindness!’
    • ‘Now there is a chance for all those organisations and individuals who have availed of their services down through the years to return the favour.’
    • ‘You've gotten me tons of gifts and I just wanted to return the favor.’
    • ‘He is unencumbered by owing favours to one master or another in London, and he will measure his success by standards set in Scotland, not Westminster.’
    • ‘In this spirit, members emphasize communal sharing, as in sharing food, giving gifts, and doing favors.’
    • ‘But, do not feel that simply because I gave you a gift, that means that you are obliged to return the favour.’
    good turn, service, kind act, good deed, act of kindness, kindness, courtesy, indulgence
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1one's favoursdated Used with reference to a woman allowing a man to have sexual intercourse with her.
      ‘she had granted her favours to him’
      • ‘The priest borrows the sum from the merchant and hands it to the wife, and the wife grants him her favours.’
  • 3also party favourA small inexpensive gift given to guests at a party.

    • ‘The tricky thing is to draw an appropriate line between a token gift or favor and a more substantial one.’
    • ‘When you're preparing the baby shower supplies, gifts and favors, the shower theme will practically tell you the best ideas to pick up.’
    • ‘Physicians are often enticed to attend these CME programs with free meals and other favors and gifts.’
    present, donation, offering, contribution, handout, presentation, bestowal, largesse, alms, charity, bonus, award, premium, bounty, boon, bequest, legacy, inheritance, settlement, subsidy, grant, endowment, benefaction
    View synonyms

verb

[with object]
  • 1Feel or show approval or preference for.

    ‘slashing public spending is a policy that few politicians favour’
    • ‘The banks also have a habit of channelling the initial equity in the direction of a few favoured clients - usually institutional investors, mutual funds and wealthy individuals.’
    • ‘The fact is that conservative voters favor conservative politicians.’
    • ‘Doesn't the church's about-face on the death penalty make threats to politicians who favor it seem facile?’
    • ‘Lending more to favored clients is on the rise as well.’
    • ‘This change seems to be favoured by politicians, the media, and the public.’
    • ‘But no, I don't favor decriminalization.’
    • ‘Like their counterparts elsewhere in the world, most Taiwanese politicians favor tax cuts to appease their constituencies.’
    • ‘The demand for UN approval is favoured by sections of the European ruling class and various antiwar groupings.’
    • ‘It also approved a relaxation of some of the conditions attached to its initial approval and this again favoured the developer.’
    • ‘Most of the people surveyed favor FDA regulation to approve product safety.’
    • ‘This solution is favored by politicians and agency heads who can avoid responsibility for fixing today's problems simply by deferring them into the future.’
    • ‘Unlike in the past, it is nearly impossible to be a successful Republican politician if you favor tax increases.’
    • ‘They include issuing biased research on particular stocks to attract investment banking fees and giving shares in hot IPOs to favored clients.’
    • ‘These politicians tend to favor government spending for jobs and social programs in the cities, and have a generally liberal disposition.’
    • ‘Such a coalition makes it easier for politicians to favor both groups.’
    • ‘If approved, I would favor its widespread use for diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection.’
    • ‘They are also favored by politicians and budget analysts, as well as by some education policy makers, who see them as cheaper than traditional education programs on established campuses.’
    • ‘Some politicians favour a graduate tax, which students pay back once they start earning a set amount following completion of their course.’
    • ‘I don't favor the legalization of drugs.’
    • ‘These are the holidays most favoured by its clients in previous years.’
    preferred, favourite, recommended, chosen, choice, selected, most-liked, ideal, particular, special, pet
    advocate, recommend, advise, subscribe to, approve of, look on with favour, be in favour of, support, back, champion
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Give unfairly preferential treatment to.
      ‘critics argued that the policy favoured the private sector’
      • ‘If he criticised the Kremlin at all, it was on the grounds of what he considered its inconsistent efforts in carrying out policies that favoured the new private owners.’
      • ‘Nevertheless, it is widely believed that that current laws disproportionately and unfairly favour women.’
      • ‘Prosecutors suspect that the bureau has, for example, unlawfully favored the school by approving its establishment of a junior high school.’
      • ‘If you believe a club gets favoured treatment from the NRL, name the club?’
      • ‘I started college as the beneficiary of a bias favoring males.’
      • ‘To some, Title IX is a quota law, designed to destroy men's sports by unfairly favoring women.’
      • ‘Critics claim that the Indian government unfairly favors the IITs when education dollars are doled out.’
      show favouritism towards, have a bias towards, treat with partiality, have as a favourite, think more highly of, hold in higher regard
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Work to the advantage of.
      ‘natural selection has favoured bats’
      • ‘The contrast is between a random sampling of gametes that leads to the fixation of selectively neutral alleles and natural selection favoring advantageous variations.’
      • ‘In the competitive struggle for existence, creatures possessing advantageous mutations would be favoured, eventually evolving into new species.’
      • ‘The ball blew all over the field and although it did favour the home side in the second half, they couldn't get the equalising goal.’
      • ‘The outcome, whether it favours the defending champions or the eager challengers, guarantees one thing: a Senior hurling title for South Sligo.’
      • ‘Counsel for the applicant has clearly put the considerations which are said to support a construction which would favour his client.’
      • ‘The point is that the paymasters intend to reward bloggers who configure web applications in a way that favours the commercial client.’
      • ‘The suite of flowers we have now are the ones favoured by the particular amount of rain we had, and the particular time when it came.’
      benefit, be to the advantage of, be advantageous to, oblige, help, assist, aid, lend a hand to, advance, abet, succour, serve, be of service to, do someone a favour, meet the needs of
      View synonyms
  • 2favour someone with(often used in polite requests) give someone (something desired)

    ‘please favour me with an answer’
    • ‘He favored Serina with the full force of his smile.’
    • ‘Ariana favored Mae with one of her shark-like smiles.’
    • ‘Marlow favored us with what must seem like an enigmatic smile, but I knew better.’
    • ‘The aged muzzle dropped a little, and she favored Wendy with a sad smile.’
    • ‘Almighty God favoured us with his presence and power.’
    • ‘Chelsea snapped her mirror shut and favored Dawn with a pseudo-smile.’
    • ‘He turned away and favored Sally with another broad smile.’
    • ‘Leila weighed the question, then favored Nika with that jarring grin.’
    • ‘As one of the girls retrieved her camera, she favored me with a hesitant smile, requested that I sign her program, and told me that she was going to be a coach someday, too.’
    • ‘The bike wobbled to a stop as she applied the brakes, and she favored Eric with a wide expectant smile.’
    • ‘Christine's eyes were on him, looking him up and down with the same speculative gaze he'd favored her with, and again he wondered how deep she was with Charles.’
    • ‘She favoured me with what might have been a fond glance, sighed a mega-cat sigh, and went back to sleep.’
    • ‘We would humbly request that - assuming the gods favor us with freedom before it is too late - you would assemble your armies and add their strength to that of our own.’
    oblige, accommodate, gratify, satisfy, humour, indulge, pander to, put oneself out for
    View synonyms
  • 3North American dated, informal Resemble (a parent or other relative) in facial features.

    ‘she's pretty, and she favours you’
    • ‘He favors my mother and I think I got the best of my dad.’
    • ‘Her very soft southern accent and her facial features favor those of her late father.’
    • ‘I don't really know him so I was shocked to see how much he favors our grandfather and great-grandfather.’
    resemble, look like, be like, be similar to, bear a resemblance to, remind one of, put one in mind of, take after, have the look of
    View synonyms
  • 4Treat (an injured limb) gently, not putting one's full weight on it.

    ‘he favours his sore leg’
    • ‘I pushed myself out of the bed and strode across the room, favoring my right leg.’
    • ‘Taylor, wearing a restrictive brace on his surgically repaired left knee, appeared unsure and favoring his bad limb.’
    • ‘He put them on then slowly slid out the bed, standing with the help of cane, heavily favoring his right leg.’
    • ‘I didn't move until I heard slow footsteps and peaked over the top of the gold to see Garren warily approaching the dragon, favoring his left leg.’
    • ‘Nicholas rose with some difficulty, favoring his injured leg, and began to make his way over to Erin just as Mr. Saturn did something by the wall.’
    • ‘His nose was bloody and he looked like he was favoring his right leg.’
    • ‘Helping me get my helmet off I noticed he was favoring his right arm and seemed to have a splint or cast on it under his suit.’
    • ‘As she was leaving, I noticed that she'd stopped favoring her leg.’
    • ‘He was walking twisted to one side to favour his painful leg.’
    • ‘Bastian staggered to his feet, favoring his left leg as Dakota put her arm around his waist to help him walk.’
    • ‘As Mitch walked back to the car, he noticed he was favoring his right leg.’
    • ‘The third night of rest found him favoring his left leg strongly, and complaining of saddle sores once more.’
    • ‘After finishing 13th, he left the backstage area favoring his right leg and said, ‘Well, at least I made it.’’
    • ‘She limped over to Jeremy, favoring her left leg, her eyes never leaving Rachel's for an instant.’
    • ‘Floyd has been favoring the sore foot, which he says is always on his mind and is preventing him from getting the proper balance he needs at the plate.’
    • ‘She noticed he favoured his right leg as he got up.’
    • ‘Up close, he looked in perfect shape, apart from favouring his left foreleg.’
    • ‘She appeared to be favoring a sore foot on floor exercise, finishing the event with a simple layout.’
    • ‘Fayd climbed to his feet, favoring his numbed leg - which was now starting to regain some feeling - and limped towards the skeletal skyscraper, trying to find his pistol.’
    • ‘Tyrone stood, favoring his right arm, which was remarkably better than he'd remembered.’

Phrases

  • do someone a favour

    • 1Do something for someone as an act of kindness.

      ‘he did us a big favour by postponing his departure for a couple of weeks’
      • ‘Whereas it is the customer who is doing us a favour by bringing their business to us.’
      • ‘Any readers who can suggest suitable reading matter or anything else to keep him amused would be doing me a favour.’
      • ‘You could of course say he was doing them a favour, what with royalties and all.’
      • ‘They act like they're perfect and they're doing you a favour by even talking to you.’
      • ‘We have to win both our games and rely on other teams doing us a favour.’
      • ‘They are actually doing me a favour by striking me off their list.’
      • ‘He's probably doing you a favor by taking the job on.’
      • ‘I think the developers might be doing us a favour.’
      • ‘Adam accepted, although, in retrospect, he rather gave the impression that it was he who was doing me a favour.’
      • ‘They know that the paying public are doing them a favour by choosing to spend their dollars there.’
      1. 1.1British informal in imperativeUsed to express brusque dismissal of a remark.
        ‘‘Are you some kind of social worker?’ ‘Do me a favour!’’
        • ‘They talk about him as the best striker in Europe but do me a favour.’
        • ‘Festival of freedom? Do me a favour.’
        • ‘The issue, supposedly, is that as a mother, Kate shouldn't do this. Do me a favour.’
        • ‘What are they going to do? Invade us? Do me a favour.’
        • ‘Oh, and we're supposed to respect them, as well. Do me a favour!’
        • ‘Somebody told me there's a story going round that he uses steroids. Do me a favour! The guy has an amazing trainer.’
        • ‘£56 a night for a doss house? Do me a favour.’
  • do someone no favours

    • informal Do something that is unhelpful to someone.

      ‘you won't do yourself any favours by getting worked up’
      • ‘To round on his employers like he did will do him no favours and, let's face it, he has been paid handsomely for his efforts.’
      • ‘I have been slapping on my make-up in the same way for close to 20 years and it does me no favours.’
      • ‘Certainly the slower Wimbledon courts did him no favours.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, the occasional glimpses of that free spirit which leaked out into the tabloid press over the years did her no favours.’
      • ‘Giving students extra marks for being ‘disadvantaged’ does them no favours.’
      • ‘Yet we do them no favors by insulating them too much.’
      • ‘It has been suggested before that his modest nature does him no favours in an environment in which more charismatic characters are coveted.’
      • ‘They won 2-1 but the scoreline did them no favours.’
      • ‘They said the man ‘became very irate, told us we were very opinionated, that we were doing him no favours by staying and to get our bags and get out’.’
      • ‘This selection really does me no favours, does it?’
  • in (or out of) favour

    • Meeting with (or having lost) approval.

      ‘they were not in favour with the party’
      • ‘Other sites currently out of favour in my head are ones that were firm favourites three or six or twelve months ago.’
      • ‘The latter may not be in favour currently, but he surely doesn't deserve a punishment like that!’
      • ‘Its use as fuel, though, fell out of favour when cheap and plentiful petroleum began flowing into North America.’
      • ‘Dairy produce has been in and out of favour for decades.’
      • ‘Therefore, value investors are on the lookout for companies that are currently out of favour with the market, but may stage a comeback.’
      • ‘That means the representatives of the vast majority of the population are in favour.’
      • ‘Despite the lip service paid to his skill, his work appears to have fallen out of favour with big-screen film-makers in recent years.’
      • ‘Is it a surprise that a player out of favour with his international coach would seek to reinforce his self-belief any way he could?’
      • ‘But he was unable to reproduce that scintillating form last season and has found himself out of favour for part of the current campaign.’
      • ‘It has gone in and out of favour and it now seems to be back in favour.’
      in disgrace, unpopular, in bad odour
      popular, well liked, liked, favoured, well received, approved, admired, accepted, welcome, sought-after, in demand, desired, wanted
      View synonyms
  • in one's favour

    • To one's advantage.

      ‘events were moving in his favour’
      • ‘The fact that her looks go against the convention seems to work in her favour.’
      • ‘Finally at the fourth attempt the case was heard, the court found in my favour and appropriate compensation was awarded.’
      • ‘I expect a numerical advantage to be in our favour for today's derby, though.’
      • ‘This gives us something we can use in our favour, a huge advantage.’
      • ‘They eventually paid the price but the home side could only add a penalty when the numeric advantage stood in their favour.’
      • ‘He had all the advantages in his favour, and for what they were offering me it wasn't worth it.’
      • ‘Sometimes life isn't fair - but sometimes it's unfair in your favour.’
      • ‘There is also a good freshness about the team as well which hopefully will all work in our favour.’
      • ‘For my part, I quite like spiders, too, as long as the size advantage remains in my favour.’
      • ‘If it turns ugly, your efforts to play fair will weigh heavily in your favor.’
      advantageous, beneficial, of benefit, in one's favour, on one's side, helpful, good, right, conducive, convenient, suitable, fit, fitting, appropriate
      View synonyms
  • in favour of

    • 1To be replaced by.

      ‘he stepped down as leader in favour of his rival’
      • ‘When they fail that task I vote them out in favour of someone who will try harder.’
    • 2In support or to the advantage of.

      ‘members have voted in favour of strike action’
      ‘the judge decided in favour of the defendant’
      • ‘How can he use this document as justification for voting in favour of the mall?’
      • ‘The union warned of a walkout in the new year if workers vote in favour of strikes.’
      • ‘It was rumored that certificates were issued to those who were sure to vote in favor of revoking the charter.’
      • ‘Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of annual elections in a recent ballot.’
      • ‘Many locals and individual unions have voted in favor of a one-day general strike.’
      • ‘In the end, no councillor voted in favour of the application and the plans were refused.’
      • ‘Eight members of the development control committee voted in favour of the project.’
      • ‘If a majority of members are in favour of strike action, dates for a walkout will be announced.’
      • ‘In a ballot held in March last year tenants voted in favour of the transfer.’
      • ‘Those who voted in favour of the closure argue it will help preserve the historic structure.’
      on the side of, pro, for, all for, giving support to, giving backing to, right behind, encouraging of, approving of, sympathetic to
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (in the noun sense ‘liking, preference’): via Old French from Latin favor, from favere ‘show kindness to’ (related to fovere ‘cherish’).

Pronunciation

favour

/ˈfeɪvə/