Definition of humor in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈ(h)yo͞omər/
(British humour)


1The quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech: his tales are full of humor
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.
comedy, comical aspect, funny side, fun, amusement, funniness, hilarity, jocularity;
absurdity, ludicrousness, drollness;
satire, irony, farce
1.1The ability to express humor or make other people laugh: their inimitable brand of humor
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 humor vanished the clash hadn’t improved his humor
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.
mood, temper, disposition, temperament, nature, state of mind, frame of mind;
2.1 archaic An inclination or whim.
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 humor) 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.


[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
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.
indulge, accommodate, pander to, cater to, yield to, give way to, give in to, go along with;
pamper, spoil, baby, overindulge, mollify, placate, gratify, satisfy
1.1 archaic Adapt or accommodate oneself to (something).



out of humor

In a bad mood.

sense of humor

The ability to perceive humor or appreciate a joke.
Example sentences
  • Principal Karen Abbott is probably not known for her sense of humor.
  • My cousin was a natural beauty with a terrific sense of humour.
  • He also had a reputation for a decidedly earthy sense of humor.


Middle English (as humour): via Old French from Latin humor 'moisture', from humere (see humid). The original sense was 'bodily fluid' (surviving in aqueous humor and vitreous humor, fluids in the eyeball); it was used specifically for any of the cardinal humors (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 'state of mind, mood' (sense 2 of the noun) and 'whim, fancy', hence to humor someone 'to indulge a person's whim'. sense 1 of the noun dates from the late 16th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hu·mor

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