Definition of humor in US English:

humor

(British humour)

noun

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

    ‘his tales are full of humor’
    • ‘Gone were the days of situational comedy when humour formed an integral part of the plot of the movie.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A jovial person, his speeches are peppered with humour.’
    • ‘‘We put out a variety of quality humor on a consistent basis,’ he said.’
    • ‘His was a speech laced with much humour and more than a little self-deprecation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He doesn't need notes because he knows what he's talking about, and he can invest his speech with humor on the spot.’
    • ‘They remain a benchmark of quality for British humour.’
    • ‘They have the characteristics of honesty and humour and they speak to audiences at their level, not from on high.’
    • ‘Those movies were exciting, full of humour, suspense and great characters - everything this film lacks.’
    • ‘Full of its characteristic humour and human drama, the series takes the gang from Middlesbrough to Arizona.’
    • ‘Fisher himself is well equipped with sharp observational humour and precision comic timing.’
    • ‘If a speaker does use humor in a speech, make certain the story, anecdote or joke is surefire funny with all listeners.’
    • ‘The result is a record with remarkable perspective, full of honesty, humor and beauty.’
    • ‘More recently, there has been interest in comics, humour, and folktales.’
    • ‘Of all the recent attempts to tread this fine line between quality and humor, he does it better than almost anyone.’
    • ‘If a comic can find humour in broken limbs, then why not in mental illness, too?’
    • ‘They are full of raw Taiwanese humor and literary surprises.’
    comical aspect, comic side, funny side, comedy, funniness, hilarity, jocularity
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    1. 1.1 The ability to express humor or make other people laugh.
      ‘their inimitable brand of humor’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No, my greatest ability is my spontaneous humour.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sense of humor is said to be the biggest turn-on.’
      • ‘Through their humour, wit and banter, they made significant observations and remarks on social issues.’
      • ‘He didn't appreciate my humor and dragged me into the kitchen.’
      • ‘If one tickles your sense of curiosity, humour, or intellect, have a browse through the archives for much more.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I have the sneaking suspicion that most comedy fans below the age of 20 won't appreciate Simon's offbeat humor.’
      • ‘She has a perfect balance of wit, sense, humour and intelligence and knows the value of a well crafted insult.’
      • ‘I admire both her humour and her ability to make theatre accessible.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He doesn't look at me, but I can tell he understood my brand of humor.’
      • ‘We became involved the usual way: working closely together in the same department, appreciating each other's humor and views of life.’
      • ‘Yet he still managed to make his special brand of humor understood.’
      • ‘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.’
      wittiness, humour, funniness, facetiousness, drollery, waggishness
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  • 2A mood or state of mind.

    ‘her good humor vanished’
    ‘the clash hadn't improved his humor’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The continent's ruling class is thus in a foul 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.’
    • ‘This was very disappointing, but when the meal was over he appeared to be in a better humour.’
    mood, temper, disposition, temperament, frame of mind, state of mind
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    1. 2.1archaic An inclination or whim.
      • ‘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 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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Traditionally, disease is seen as the effect of bad winds and an imbalance of the four humors of the body.’
    • ‘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.’

verb

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

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

Phrases

  • out of humor

    • 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 humors ( humor (sense 3 of the noun)), whence ‘mental disposition’ (thought to be caused by the relative proportions of the humors). This led, in the 16th century, to the senses ‘mood’ ( humor (sense 2 of the noun)) and ‘whim’, hence to humour someone ‘to indulge a person's whim’. humor (sense 1 of the noun) dates from the late 16th century.

Pronunciation

humor

/ˈ(h)jumər//ˈ(h)yo͞omər/