Definition of humour in English:

humour

(US humor)

noun

mass noun
  • 1The quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.

    ‘his tales are full of humour’
    • ‘What made all this watchable, indeed endearing, was a constant thread of humour and the quality of the writing and acting.’
    • ‘I assume you are referring to our inclusion of humor and attempted humor in our public speeches.’
    • ‘We both have a good sense of humour and we try to find humour in everything so I guess that comes out in the music.’
    • ‘One of her enduring contributions may be to bring humor to this tight-lipped literature.’
    • ‘If a comic can find humour in broken limbs, then why not in mental illness, too?’
    • ‘His was a speech laced with much humour and more than a little self-deprecation.’
    • ‘Full of its characteristic humour and human drama, the series takes the gang from Middlesbrough to Arizona.’
    • ‘A jovial person, his speeches are peppered with humour.’
    • ‘They are full of raw Taiwanese humor and literary surprises.’
    • ‘If a speaker does use humor in a speech, make certain the story, anecdote or joke is surefire funny with all listeners.’
    • ‘They have the characteristics of honesty and humour and they speak to audiences at their level, not from on high.’
    • ‘Of all the recent attempts to tread this fine line between quality and humor, he does it better than almost anyone.’
    • ‘‘We put out a variety of quality humor on a consistent basis,’ he said.’
    • ‘More recently, there has been interest in comics, humour, and folktales.’
    • ‘Fisher himself is well equipped with sharp observational humour and precision comic timing.’
    • ‘The result is a record with remarkable perspective, full of honesty, humor and beauty.’
    • ‘They remain a benchmark of quality for British humour.’
    • ‘Gone were the days of situational comedy when humour formed an integral part of the plot of the movie.’
    • ‘He doesn't need notes because he knows what he's talking about, and he can invest his speech with humor on the spot.’
    • ‘Those movies were exciting, full of humour, suspense and great characters - everything this film lacks.’
    comical aspect, comic side, funny side, comedy, funniness, hilarity, jocularity
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    1. 1.1 The ability to express humour or amuse other people.
      ‘their inimitable brand of humour’
      • ‘She has an infectious humour, a hearty laugh and can fill a room with her cheerful personality.’
      • ‘She has a perfect balance of wit, sense, humour and intelligence and knows the value of a well crafted insult.’
      • ‘Yet he still managed to make his special brand of humor understood.’
      • ‘His earthy humor, his ability to joke when things seemed darkest, and his endless supply of homespun stories certainly helped him cope with the crises of war.’
      • ‘I admire both her humour and her ability to make theatre accessible.’
      • ‘I have the sneaking suspicion that most comedy fans below the age of 20 won't appreciate Simon's offbeat humor.’
      • ‘He didn't appreciate my humor and dragged me into the kitchen.’
      • ‘We became involved the usual way: working closely together in the same department, appreciating each other's humor and views of life.’
      • ‘As well as James bringing his own inimitable brand of Jewish humour, in recent months clergymen of all denominations have chipped in with their own.’
      • ‘Sense of humour is still a winner with both sexes; 64 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men rated it the most important personality trait.’
      • ‘He's put that optimism, curiosity, humour, and his ability to play guitar to good use, performing close to 150 dates a year.’
      • ‘Sense of humour is definitely what we need in this particular subject matter, and especially looking at that text.’
      • ‘Through their humour, wit and banter, they made significant observations and remarks on social issues.’
      • ‘No, my greatest ability is my spontaneous humour.’
      • ‘It would not be an exaggeration to say I am in some awe of this lady; she is facing a difficult time in her life with courage, common sense and humour.’
      • ‘Sense of humor is said to be the biggest turn-on.’
      • ‘If one tickles your sense of curiosity, humour, or intellect, have a browse through the archives for much more.’
      • ‘And for one more thing: I realised people who appreciate my kind of humour, are those who are smart.’
      • ‘Charlie senior, famed for his red nose and bowler hat, was known all over the world for his tricks, humour and ability to play countless musical instruments.’
      • ‘He doesn't look at me, but I can tell he understood my brand of humor.’
      wittiness, funniness, facetiousness, drollery, waggishness
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  • 2A mood or state of mind.

    ‘her good humour vanished’
    ‘the clash hadn't improved his humour’
    • ‘This resulted in some labels for groups that reflected participant moods or humor.’
    • ‘You forgave her for anything, noticed her every little change and could naturally sense her mood or humour.’
    • ‘Also working against the timber framed houses was the fact that I was in a 9am humour, not much of a morning person - me.’
    • ‘This was very disappointing, but when the meal was over he appeared to be in a better humour.’
    • ‘Twenty minutes later we were shown to our table and instantly, everyone's humour improved.’
    • ‘She phoned about three quarters of an hour later, apologising that the line got chopped off, and in a better humour.’
    • ‘The continent's ruling class is thus in a foul humor.’
    mood, temper, disposition, temperament, frame of mind, state of mind
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    1. 2.1archaic count noun An inclination or whim.
      ‘and have you really burnt all your Plays to please a Humour?’
      • ‘The female incapable of intellectual purpose, governed by her whims and humours, is a misogynistic cliche not only of the time, but very much of his writings.’
      tendency, propensity, proclivity, leaning
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  • 3historical count noun Each of the four chief fluids of the body (blood, phlegm, yellow bile (choler), and black bile (melancholy)) that were thought to determine a person's physical and mental qualities by the relative proportions in which they were present.

    • ‘According to humoral theory, the body comprised of the four humours blood, phlegm, choler, and melancholy; and pathological conditions are the result of humoral abnormalities.’
    • ‘Its most important doctrine was that of the four humours.’
    • ‘Traditionally, disease is seen as the effect of bad winds and an imbalance of the four humors of the body.’
    • ‘Back in the days of the four humors, people had no problem believing that temperaments emerged from the balance, or imbalance, of chemicals in the body.’
    • ‘According to this theory, the most important determinants of health were the four humours found in the body: blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile.’

verb

[with object]
  • 1Comply with the wishes of (someone) in order to keep them content, however unreasonable such wishes might be.

    ‘she was always humouring him to prevent trouble’
    • ‘Not that I don't like talking to you, but I always feel like you're just humoring me when you listen to me rave about this show or that show.’
    • ‘When I get upset, people humor me and tell me it's okay - that I'll get over it.’
    • ‘You never quite get the feeling they're interested, they always seem to be doing it to humour you.’
    • ‘You're right,’ she said, humoring him with an indulgent smile.’
    • ‘I know this is an old chestnut, written by loads of people ad infinitum but for now humour me.’
    • ‘Well, I'm trying to justify the money we spent tonight, so humor me.’
    • ‘The women looked at the photograph, but you could see they were just humouring him.’
    • ‘I can't really understand the distinct aversion felt by the three persons who humored me by coming along.’
    • ‘But the old man seemed to have made up his mind, and so, to humor him, he did as he wished.’
    • ‘However, it's possible they were just humoring me.’
    • ‘I've met one other person in my life who has related to this, although actually with hindsight I think she might just have been humouring me.’
    • ‘I had always figured he humored me while I chattered away so he could take some more pictures.’
    • ‘But we humoured him, since he spoke our sort of language.’
    • ‘‘Well, that's always good to hear,’ the nurse said, humoring me.’
    • ‘His manner was friendly, and I decided to humour him.’
    • ‘I'll just humour him for the 7 days and then we can get back to normal!’
    • ‘I feel like I'm the only girl on the boy's team and they're humouring me.’
    • ‘I humoured him, not attempting to put his illusions straight.’
    • ‘To humour him I used that term throughout the interview.’
    • ‘She humored me and encouraged me nonstop, and I shall always be indebted to her.’
    indulge, pander to, yield to, bow to, cater to, give way to, give in to, go along with, comply with, adapt to, accommodate
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    1. 1.1archaic Adapt or accommodate oneself to (something)
      ‘in reading this stanza we ought to humour it with a corresponding tone of voice’

Phrases

  • out of humour

    • In a bad mood.

      angry, annoyed, irate, irritated, in a bad mood, peeved, vexed, upset, irked, piqued, out of humour, put out, displeased, galled, resentful
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Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin humor ‘moisture’, from humere (see humid). The original sense was ‘bodily fluid’ (surviving in aqueous humour and vitreous humour); it was used specifically for any of the cardinal humours ( humour (sense 3 of the noun)), whence ‘mental disposition’ (thought to be caused by the relative proportions of the humours). This led, in the 16th century, to the senses ‘mood’ ( humour (sense 2 of the noun)) and ‘whim’, hence to humour someone ‘to indulge a person's whim’. humour (sense 1 of the noun) dates from the late 16th century.

Pronunciation

humour

/ˈhjuːmə/