Definition of favour in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪvə/
(US favor)


1 [mass noun] Approval, support, or liking for someone or something: training is looked upon with favour by many employers
More example sentences
  • The union leader observed that students had lost support and favour from members of the public as a result of their riotous and unruly behaviour.
  • The emperor eventually became the ultimate patron, and as time went on, without his support and favour, even the most ambitious senator could not hold high office.
  • Leaders in Europe should withdraw all favor and support from any Palestinian ruler who fails his people and betrays their cause.
approval, approbation, commendation, esteem, goodwill, kindness, benevolence, friendliness
1.1Overgenerous preferential treatment: he was accused of showing favour to one of the players
More example sentences
  • Both sides of a trial seek bias in their own favour as, according to the film's ads, some cases ‘are too important to be left to juries’.
  • His petition to the Scottish parliament accuses government bodies meant to regulate the fish farming industry of being biased in its favour.
  • This pact is utterly one-sided-in Mexico's favor.
1.2 [count noun] archaic A thing such as a badge or knot of ribbons that is given or worn as a mark of liking or support.
ribbon, rosette, badge;
token, token of affection, token of esteem;
keepsake, souvenir, memento
archaic remembrancer
2An act of kindness beyond what is due or usual: I’ve come to ask you a favour
More example sentences
  • Of course what they really meant was, ‘Do me a favour.’
  • Do us a favour: Read this book and listen to this tape.
  • Do us a favour, get a dictionary and look up what a gradient is.
good turn, service, kind act, good deed, act of kindness, kindness, courtesy, indulgence;
benefit, boon
2.1 (one's favours) dated Used with reference to a woman allowing a man to have sexual intercourse with her: she had granted her favours to him
More example sentences
  • The priest borrows the sum from the merchant and hands it to the wife, and the wife grants him her favours.
3 (also party favour) A small inexpensive gift given to guests at a party.
Example sentences
  • Physicians are often enticed to attend these CME programs with free meals and other favors and gifts.
  • When you're preparing the baby shower supplies, gifts and favors, the shower theme will practically tell you the best ideas to pick up.
  • The tricky thing is to draw an appropriate line between a token gift or favor and a more substantial one.


[with object]
1Feel or show approval or preference for: slashing public spending is a policy that few politicians favour
More example sentences
  • It also approved a relaxation of some of the conditions attached to its initial approval and this again favoured the developer.
  • The demand for UN approval is favoured by sections of the European ruling class and various antiwar groupings.
  • Most of the people surveyed favor FDA regulation to approve product safety.
advocate, recommend, advise, subscribe to, approve of, look on with favour, be in favour of, support, back, champion;
informal plug, push
preferred, favourite, recommended, chosen, choice, selected, most-liked, ideal, particular, special, pet
informal blue-eyed
1.1Give unfairly preferential treatment to: critics argued that the policy favoured the private sector
More example sentences
  • If you believe a club gets favoured treatment from the NRL, name the club?
  • Nevertheless, it is widely believed that that current laws disproportionately and unfairly favour women.
  • Critics claim that the Indian government unfairly favors the IITs when education dollars are doled out.
show favouritism towards, have a bias towards, treat with partiality, have as a favourite, think more highly of, hold in higher regard;
indulge, pamper, spoil
1.2Work to the advantage of: natural selection has favoured bats
More example sentences
  • The contrast is between a random sampling of gametes that leads to the fixation of selectively neutral alleles and natural selection favoring advantageous variations.
  • In the competitive struggle for existence, creatures possessing advantageous mutations would be favoured, eventually evolving into new species.
  • The ball blew all over the field and although it did favour the home side in the second half, they couldn't get the equalising goal.
benefit, be to the advantage of, be advantageous to, oblige, help, assist, aid, lend a hand to, advance, abet, succour, serve, be of service to, do someone a favour, meet the needs of
2 (favour someone with) (Often used in polite requests) give someone (something desired): please favour me with an answer
More example sentences
  • She favoured me with what might have been a fond glance, sighed a mega-cat sigh, and went back to sleep.
  • Marlow favored us with what must seem like an enigmatic smile, but I knew better.
  • Ariana favored Mae with one of her shark-like smiles.
oblige, accommodate, gratify, satisfy, humour, indulge, pander to, put oneself out for;
3 dated or North American informal Resemble (a parent or other relative) in facial features: she’s pretty, and she favours you
More example sentences
  • I don't really know him so I was shocked to see how much he favors our grandfather and great-grandfather.
  • Her very soft southern accent and her facial features favor those of her late father.
  • He favors my mother and I think I got the best of my dad.
4Treat (an injured limb) gently, not putting one’s full weight on it: he favours his sore leg
More example sentences
  • Nicholas rose with some difficulty, favoring his injured leg, and began to make his way over to Erin just as Mr. Saturn did something by the wall.
  • Floyd has been favoring the sore foot, which he says is always on his mind and is preventing him from getting the proper balance he needs at the plate.
  • She appeared to be favoring a sore foot on floor exercise, finishing the event with a simple layout.



do someone a favour

Do something for someone as an act of kindness: he did us a big favour by postponing his departure for a couple of weeks
More example sentences
  • They act like they're perfect and they're doing you a favour by even talking to you.
  • He's probably doing you a favor by taking the job on.
  • We have to win both our games and rely on other teams doing us a favour.
(do me a favour) [in imperative] British informal1.1 Used to express brusque dismissal of a remark: ‘Are you some kind of social worker?’ ‘Do me a favour!’
More example sentences
  • They talk about him as the best striker in Europe but do me a favour.
  • Somebody told me there's a story going round that he uses steroids. Do me a favour! The guy has an amazing trainer.
  • The issue, supposedly, is that as a mother, Kate shouldn't do this. Do me a favour.

do someone no favours

informal Do something that is unhelpful to someone: you won’t do yourself any favours by getting worked up
More example sentences
  • They won 2-1 but the scoreline did them no favours.
  • They said the man ‘became very irate, told us we were very opinionated, that we were doing him no favours by staying and to get our bags and get out’.
  • Giving students extra marks for being ‘disadvantaged’ does them no favours.

in (or out of) favour

Meeting with (or having lost) approval: they were not in favour with the party
More example sentences
  • Other sites currently out of favour in my head are ones that were firm favourites three or six or twelve months ago.
  • The latter may not be in favour currently, but he surely doesn't deserve a punishment like that!
  • That means the representatives of the vast majority of the population are in favour.
popular, well liked, liked, favoured, well received, approved, admired, accepted, welcome, sought-after, in demand, desired, wanted
in disgrace, unpopular, in bad odour
informal in someone's bad/black books, in the doghouse
New Zealand informal in the dogbox

in one's favour

To one’s advantage: events were moving in his favour
More example sentences
  • They eventually paid the price but the home side could only add a penalty when the numeric advantage stood in their favour.
  • This gives us something we can use in our favour, a huge advantage.
  • I expect a numerical advantage to be in our favour for today's derby, though.

in favour of

1To be replaced by: he stepped down as leader in favour of his rival
More example sentences
  • When they fail that task I vote them out in favour of someone who will try harder.
2In support or to the advantage of: members have voted in favour of strike action the judge decided in favour of the defendant
More example sentences
  • The union warned of a walkout in the new year if workers vote in favour of strikes.
  • Members voted overwhelmingly in favour of annual elections in a recent ballot.
  • Many locals and individual unions have voted in favor of a one-day general strike.
on the side of, pro, for, all for, giving support to, giving backing to, right behind, encouraging of, approving of, sympathetic to



Example sentences
  • Great meetings are being held in which warm and angry words prevail by both favourers and denouncers of the measure, and petitions, pro and con, to both houses of parliament, are lying for signature in all parts of this town.


Middle English (in the noun sense 'liking, preference'): via Old French from Latin favor, from favere 'show kindness to' (related to fovere 'cherish').

  • The early sense was ‘liking, preference’. It comes via Old French from Latin favor, from favere ‘show kindness to’. In the late 16th century, a favour was something given as a sign of preference, a gift as a token of affection. An example of this is the favour worn conspicuously by medieval knights. Sometimes a ribbon or cockade worn at a ceremony such as at a wedding or coronation was known as a favour too. The feather in your cap would originally have been a favour.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fa¦vour

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