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noun hu·mor \ˈhyü-mər, ˈyü-\

Simple Definition of humor

  • : a funny or amusing quality

  • : jokes, funny stories, etc., of a particular kind

  • : the ability to be funny or to be amused by things that are funny

Full Definition of humor

  1. 1 a :  a normal functioning bodily semifluid or fluid (as the blood or lymph) b :  a secretion (as a hormone) that is an excitant of activity

  2. 2 a in medieval physiology :  a fluid or juice of an animal or plant; specifically :  one of the four fluids entering into the constitution of the body and determining by their relative proportions a person's health and temperament b :  characteristic or habitual disposition or bent :  temperament <of cheerful humor> c :  an often temporary state of mind imposed especially by circumstances <was in no humor to listen> d :  a sudden, unpredictable, or unreasoning inclination :  whim

  3. 3 a :  that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous b :  the mental faculty of discovering, expressing, or appreciating the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous c :  something that is or is designed to be comical or amusing

out of humor
  1. :  out of sorts

Examples of humor

  1. He didn't appreciate the humor of the situation.

  2. Someday, you'll see the humor in this.

  3. Everyone likes the gentle humor of his stories of family life.

  4. She doesn't care for ethnic humor.

  5. The book is a collection of American humor.

  6. His humor is one of his most attractive qualities.

Origin of humor

Middle English humour, from Anglo-French umor, umour, from Medieval Latin & Latin; Medieval Latin humor, from Latin humor, umor moisture; akin to Old Norse vǫkr damp, Latin humēre to be moist, and perhaps to Greek hygros wet

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of humor

wit, humor, irony, sarcasm, satire, repartee mean a mode of expression intended to arouse amusement. wit suggests the power to evoke laughter by remarks showing verbal felicity or ingenuity and swift perception especially of the incongruous <a playful wit>. humor implies an ability to perceive the ludicrous, the comical, and the absurd in human life and to express these usually without bitterness <a sense of humor>. irony applies to a manner of expression in which the intended meaning is the opposite of what is seemingly expressed <the irony of the title>. sarcasm applies to expression frequently in the form of irony that is intended to cut or wound <given to heartless sarcasm>. satire applies to writing that exposes or ridicules conduct, doctrines, or institutions either by direct criticism or more often through irony, parody, or caricature <a satire on the Congress>. repartee implies the power of answering quickly, pointedly, or wittily <a dinner guest noted for repartee>.

Rhymes with humor



verb hu·mor

Simple Definition of humor

  • : to try to please or satisfy (someone) by doing what is wanted

Full Definition of humor

hu·moredhu·mor·ing play \ˈhyüm-riŋ, ˈyüm-, ˈhyü-mə-, ˈyü-\

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to soothe or content by indulgence

  3. 2 :  to adapt oneself to

Examples of humor

  1. The only way to get along with him is to humor him.

  2. <humored her grandfather by listening to his war stories for the hundredth time>


First Known Use of humor


Synonym Discussion of humor

indulge, pamper, humor, spoil, baby, mollycoddle mean to show undue favor to a person's desires and feelings. indulge implies excessive compliance and weakness in gratifying another's or one's own desires <indulged myself with food at the slightest excuse>. pamper implies inordinate gratification of desire for luxury and comfort with consequent enervating effect <pampered by the amenities of modern living>. humor stresses a yielding to a person's moods or whims <humored him by letting him tell the story>. spoil stresses the injurious effects on character by indulging or pampering <foolish parents spoil their children>. baby suggests excessive care, attention, or solicitude <babying students by grading too easily>. mollycoddle suggests an excessive degree of care and attention to another's health or welfare <refused to mollycoddle her malingering son>.

Medical Dictionary


noun hu·mor

Medical Definition of humor

  1. 1a:  a normal functioning bodily semifluid or fluid (as the blood or lymph)b:  a secretion (as a hormone) that is an excitant of activity

  2. 2in ancient and medieval physiology :  a fluid or juice of an animal or plant; specifically :  one of the four fluids that were believed to enter into the constitution of the body and to determine by their relative proportions a person's health and temperament—see black bile, blood 3, phlegm 1, yellow bile

Variants of humor

or chiefly British hu·mour \ˈhyü-mər, ˈyü-\play play

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up humor? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

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