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humour

Line breaks: hu¦mour
Pronunciation: /ˈhjuːmə
 
/
(US humor)

Definition of humour in English:

noun

[mass noun]
1The quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech: his tales are full of humour
More example sentences
  • They are full of raw Taiwanese humor and literary surprises.
  • They remain a benchmark of quality for British humour.
  • What made all this watchable, indeed endearing, was a constant thread of humour and the quality of the writing and acting.
Synonyms
comical aspect, comic side, funny side, comedy, funniness, hilarity, jocularity;
absurdity, absurdness, ludicrousness, drollness, facetiousness;
1.1The ability to express humour or amuse other people: their inimitable brand of humour
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Sense of humor is said to be the biggest turn-on.
  • Sense of humour is definitely what we need in this particular subject matter, and especially looking at that text.
2A mood or state of mind: her good humour vanished the clash hadn’t improved his humour
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Twenty minutes later we were shown to our table and instantly, everyone's humour improved.
Synonyms
mood, temper, disposition, temperament, frame of mind, state of mind;
2.1 [count noun] archaic An inclination or whim: and have you really burnt all your Plays to please a Humour?
More example sentences
  • 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.
3 (also cardinal humour) [count noun] historical 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.

verb

[with object] Back to top  
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
More example sentences
  • I had always figured he humored me while I chattered away so he could take some more pictures.
  • 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.
Synonyms
1.1 archaic Adapt or accommodate oneself to (something): in reading this stanza we ought to humour it with a corresponding tone of voice

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 (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' (sense 2 of the noun) and 'whim', hence to humour someone 'to indulge a person's whim'. sense 1 of the noun dates from the late 16th century.

More
  • In the Middle Ages scientists and doctors believed that there were four main fluids in the body and that the relative proportions of these determined an individual's temperament. Blood gave a cheerful or sanguine disposition; phlegm made somebody stolidly calm or phlegmatic; choler or yellow bile gave a peevish and irascible, or choleric character; and melancholy or black bile caused depression. These substances were the four humours, or cardinal humours. From this notion humour acquired the sense ‘mental disposition’, then ‘state of mind, mood’ and ‘whim, fancy’ (hence to humour someone, ‘to indulge a person's whim’). The association with amusement arose in the late 17th century. The origin of humour directly refers to fluids—it derives from Latin humor ‘moisture’, from humere ‘to be moist’, source also of humid (Late Middle English).

Phrases

out of humour

1
In a bad mood.

sense of humour

2
A person’s ability to appreciate humour: in all the ups and downs of his life he never lost his sense of humour
More example sentences
  • In short, I find him a little humourless and dull.
  • On the basis of his TV performance, I expected him to be humourless and gloomy.
  • She was a joyless, humorless woman, stark and judgmental.

Definition of humour in:

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