Definition of humoral in English:



  • 1Relating to the body fluids, especially with regard to immune responses involving antibodies in body fluids as distinct from cells (see cell-mediated).

    See also cell-mediated
    • ‘Patients with humoral primary immunodeficiencies have an intact cellular immune system; thus, they are able to handle most viral and fungal pathogens, a factor that can help to distinguish these disorders clinically.’
    • ‘Still, some cell-mediated and humoral immune system responses may be slightly impaired by heavy marijuana use.’
    • ‘Furthermore, children with humoral immunodeficiencies often have infections in other sites such as ears, lung, and skin.’
    • ‘Both humoral and cell-mediated immune mechanisms influence the outcome of the infection.’
    • ‘Therefore, they may fail to elicit a humoral immune response.’
    1. 1.1historical Relating to the four bodily humours.
      • ‘In ancient Greek history, bloodletting was practiced according to the humoral theory, which proposed that when the four humors, blood, phlegm, black and yellow bile in the human body were in balance, good health was guaranteed.’
      • ‘The humoral vision of the body lasted until the late seventeenth century in Europe.’
      • ‘Holistic medicine, which for centuries had been associated with the humours, still exists - though largely bereft of humoral theory - as alternative medicine.’
      • ‘Ancient Galenic expositions of the body's humoral composition, and attendant physical fluctuations, further complicated a woman's position.’
      • ‘In humoral physiology a good fever was seen to eliminate impurities from the body and clarify all the humours.’
    2. 1.2historical (of diseases) caused by or attributed to a disordered state of body fluids or (formerly) the bodily humours.
      • ‘Greek medicine had understood gout as a humoral disease.’


Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘relating to bodily fluids’): from Old French, or from medieval Latin humoralis, from Latin humor ‘moisture’ (see humour).