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’
    • ‘His was a speech laced with much humour and more than a little self-deprecation.’
    • ‘A jovial person, his speeches are peppered with humour.’
    • ‘I assume you are referring to our inclusion of humor and attempted humor in our public speeches.’
    • ‘If a comic can find humour in broken limbs, then why not in mental illness, too?’
    • ‘One of her enduring contributions may be to bring humor to this tight-lipped literature.’
    • ‘Of all the recent attempts to tread this fine line between quality and humor, he does it better than almost anyone.’
    • ‘Gone were the days of situational comedy when humour formed an integral part of the plot of the movie.’
    • ‘They are full of raw Taiwanese humor and literary surprises.’
    • ‘Those movies were exciting, full of humour, suspense and great characters - everything this film lacks.’
    • ‘More recently, there has been interest in comics, humour, and folktales.’
    • ‘They have the characteristics of honesty and humour and they speak to audiences at their level, not from on high.’
    • ‘‘We put out a variety of quality humor on a consistent basis,’ he said.’
    • ‘If a speaker does use humor in a speech, make certain the story, anecdote or joke is surefire funny with all listeners.’
    • ‘Full of its characteristic humour and human drama, the series takes the gang from Middlesbrough to Arizona.’
    • ‘He doesn't need notes because he knows what he's talking about, and he can invest his speech with humor on the spot.’
    • ‘The result is a record with remarkable perspective, full of honesty, humor and beauty.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They remain a benchmark of quality for British humour.’
    • ‘Fisher himself is well equipped with sharp observational humour and precision comic timing.’
    • ‘What made all this watchable, indeed endearing, was a constant thread of humour and the quality of the writing and acting.’
    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’
      • ‘Yet he still managed to make his special brand of humor understood.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He's put that optimism, curiosity, humour, and his ability to play guitar to good use, performing close to 150 dates a year.’
      • ‘Through their humour, wit and banter, they made significant observations and remarks on social issues.’
      • ‘And for one more thing: I realised people who appreciate my kind of humour, are those who are smart.’
      • ‘He doesn't look at me, but I can tell he understood my brand of humor.’
      • ‘She has a perfect balance of wit, sense, humour and intelligence and knows the value of a well crafted insult.’
      • ‘No, my greatest ability is my spontaneous humour.’
      • ‘He didn't appreciate my humor and dragged me into the kitchen.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have the sneaking suspicion that most comedy fans below the age of 20 won't appreciate Simon's offbeat humor.’
      • ‘If one tickles your sense of curiosity, humour, or intellect, have a browse through the archives for much more.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sense of humour is definitely what we need in this particular subject matter, and especially looking at that text.’
      • ‘Sense of humor is said to be the biggest turn-on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I admire both her humour and her ability to make theatre accessible.’
      • ‘We became involved the usual way: working closely together in the same department, appreciating each other's humor and views of life.’
      • ‘She has an infectious humour, a hearty laugh and can fill a room with her cheerful personality.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
    • ‘The continent's ruling class is thus in a foul humor.’
    • ‘This resulted in some labels for groups that reflected participant moods or humor.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘You forgave her for anything, noticed her every little change and could naturally sense her mood or humour.’
    • ‘This was very disappointing, but when the meal was over he appeared to be in a better 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.’
    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.

    • ‘Traditionally, disease is seen as the effect of bad winds and an imbalance of the four humors of the body.’
    • ‘Its most important doctrine was that of the four humours.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’

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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To humour him I used that term throughout the interview.’
    • ‘‘Well, that's always good to hear,’ the nurse said, humoring me.’
    • ‘You never quite get the feeling they're interested, they always seem to be doing it to humour you.’
    • ‘I feel like I'm the only girl on the boy's team and they're humouring me.’
    • ‘I know this is an old chestnut, written by loads of people ad infinitum but for now humour me.’
    • ‘I humoured him, not attempting to put his illusions straight.’
    • ‘But the old man seemed to have made up his mind, and so, to humor him, he did as he wished.’
    • ‘His manner was friendly, and I decided to humour him.’
    • ‘However, it's possible they were just humoring me.’
    • ‘She humored me and encouraged me nonstop, and I shall always be indebted to her.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I'll just humour him for the 7 days and then we can get back to normal!’
    • ‘Well, I'm trying to justify the money we spent tonight, so humor me.’
    • ‘You're right,’ she said, humoring him with an indulgent smile.’
    • ‘When I get upset, people humor me and tell me it's okay - that I'll get over it.’
    • ‘But we humoured him, since he spoke our sort of language.’
    • ‘I had always figured he humored me while I chattered away so he could take some more pictures.’
    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/