fa·​vor | \ ˈfā-vər How to pronounce favor (audio) \

Definition of favor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a(1) : friendly regard shown toward another especially by a superior a politician attempting to keep the favor of the voters
(2) : approving consideration or attention : approbation looked with favor on the enterprise
b : partiality The students naturally showed favor toward their own team.
c archaic : leniency
d archaic : permission
e : popularity The fad lost favor quickly.

2 archaic

b(1) : face
(2) : a facial feature
3a : gracious kindness also : an act of such kindness did you a favor
b archaic : aid, assistance
c favors plural : effort in one's behalf or interest : attention vying for the king's favor
4a : a token of love (such as a ribbon) usually worn conspicuously
b : a small gift or decorative item given out at a party
c : badge
5a : a special privilege or right granted or conceded granted a favor to a dear friend
b : sexual privileges usually used in plural
6 archaic : letter
7 : behalf, interest a man who acts only in his own favor
in favor of
1a : in accord or sympathy with
b : to the benefit of : in support of a verdict in favor of the accused
2 : to the order of
3 : in order to choose : out of preference for turned down the scholarship in favor of a pro career
in one's favor
1 : in one's good graces wanted to get back in the teacher's favor
2 : to one's advantage The judge ruled in our favor.
out of favor
: unpopular, disliked Her ideas are now out of favor.


favored; favoring\ ˈfā-​v(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce favoring (audio) \

Definition of favor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to regard or treat with favor
b(1) : to do a kindness for : oblige
(2) : endow
c : to treat gently or carefully favored her injured leg
2 : to show partiality toward : prefer
3a : to give support or confirmation to : sustain
b : to afford advantages for success to : facilitate good weather favored the outing
4 : to bear a resemblance to he favors his father

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Other Words from favor


favorer \ ˈfā-​vər-​ər How to pronounce favorer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for favor

Synonyms: Noun

benevolence, boon, courtesy, grace, indulgence, kindness, mercy, service, turn

Synonyms: Verb

accommodate, oblige

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of favor in a Sentence


I drove her to the airport because I owed her a favor. She's willing to help you but only as a favor to me. Don't do me any favors. I don't need your help. I've learned to be grateful for small favors. He's trying to earn the boss's favor by working late. The judge showed favor for the defendant. The students naturally showed favor toward their own school's team. Small boxes of candy were given out as favors at the wedding.


The teacher clearly favors you. Most voters favor these tax cuts. Her father favored the idea of her going to law school. They won the championship last year, and most forecasters favor them to win again this year.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Despite increasing prevalence, some school safety experts aren't in favor of firearms training and worry that such lessons could cause undue stress or harm. Morgan Smith, latimes.com, "A new staple of schoolteacher training: Active shooter drills," 7 July 2019 In Juneau, a rally in favor of budget veto overrides will take place at noon in front of the Capitol. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Q&A: Understanding the Alaska Legislature’s dual special sessions," 7 July 2019 Such was the case when Russell, an all-star in Brooklyn last season, spurned Minnesota in favor of Golden State. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Gersson Rosas says Wolves not panicked by missing out on D’Angelo Russell, aren’t done making moves," 6 July 2019 During his 12 years in the Senate, Mr. Sanders, 77, has voted in favor of virtually every major piece of legislation, procedural motion or budget compromise pitched by his leaders — especially when his no vote would have affected the outcome. Glenn Thrush, New York Times, "Outsider or Insider? How Bernie Sanders Learned to Walk the Line," 6 July 2019 Additionally, Amash cannot be removed from his spot on the powerful House Oversight Committee without a resolution being passed by the full House of Representatives to do so, which would require some Democrats to vote in favor of the resolution. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Justin Amash: The few times a member of Congress has left a political party in recent history," 6 July 2019 The order also said all of the judges in the Northern District of Ohio are in favor of dropping the complaint. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Court committee drops misconduct complaint against federal Judge John Adams in Akron," 5 July 2019 The supervisors withdrew their signatures in favor of the signature-gathering effort so that the measure would only need a majority to pass. Dominic Fracassa, SFChronicle.com, "Judge could rule soon on SF’s taxes for homeless services and childcare," 4 July 2019 The problem is not that young people lean liberal, but that freedom of speech is being sacrificed in favor of whining, foolish petulance. Sahil Handa, National Review, "What Conservatives Get Wrong about the Campus Wars," 4 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Since then, Hong Kong has continued to rely on a 1,200-member committee heavily weighted in Beijing’s favor to pick its chief executive. New York Times, "Hong Kong Protesters Are Fueled by a Broader Demand: More Democracy," 8 July 2019 Polls show that the majority of Georgians favor joining NATO, which would infuriate Russia. BostonGlobe.com, "Georgian TV host unleashes tirade against Putin as tensions with Russia escalate," 8 July 2019 This isn't a good time to make a commotion over a passing emotion -- sometimes the stars just don't favor digging deeply into issues, and today is one of those times. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for July 8, 2019: Happy birthday Milo Ventimiglia; Sagittarius, friends want you to settle their fights," 8 July 2019 But the fact is the survey favors teams with higher ticket prices. Terry Pluto, cleveland.com, "Cleveland Browns fans ranked 27th? Terry’s Talkin’ says ‘Get Outta Here!’ — Terry Pluto," 7 July 2019 The team continued its run in the competition by overcoming its past demons and defeating favored Germany 2–1 in the quarterfinals. Alaa Abdeldaiem, SI.com, "England vs. Sweden Live Stream: Watch Women's World Cup Third-Place Game," 6 July 2019 The panel of three judges issued its decision five days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal courts can't consider allegations that election maps unfairly favor one political party over another. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Judges throw out Wisconsin's gerrymandering case and say they will decide whether fees are owed later," 2 July 2019 For the 2020 election, Allred will be boosted by a presidential election turnout, which typically favors Democrats. Gromer Jeffers Jr., Dallas News, "Colin Allred has more than $1M for re-election bid as challengers, perhaps Allen West, consider running," 2 July 2019 Guests also received small fragrant wands of lavender produced by a local firm as favors. Peter Mikelbank, PEOPLE.com, "Royal Wedding Take 2! Princess Grace's Granddaughter Charlotte Casiraghi Weds in Second Ceremony," 29 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'favor.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of favor


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for favor

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin, from favēre to be favorable; perhaps akin to Old High German gouma attention, Old Church Slavonic gověti to revere

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Statistics for favor

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for favor

The first known use of favor was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for favor



English Language Learners Definition of favor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a kind or helpful act that you do for someone
: approval, support, or popularity
: preference for one person, group, etc., over another



English Language Learners Definition of favor (Entry 2 of 2)

: to prefer (someone) especially in an unfair way : to show that you like or approve of (someone) more than others
: to approve of or support (something)
: to regard (someone or something) as most likely to succeed or win


fa·​vor | \ ˈfā-vər How to pronounce favor (audio) \

Kids Definition of favor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act of kindness Do me a favor.
2 : approval sense 1, liking They look with favor on protecting wildlife.
3 : a preference for one side over another The umpire showed favor toward the champs.
4 : a small gift or decorative item party favors
in favor of
1 : wanting or approving of All in favor of going say aye.
2 : in support of The judge ruled in favor of the defendant.


favored; favoring

Kids Definition of favor (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to prefer especially unfairly My mom always favors my little brother.
2 : to approve of The president favors a bill to cut taxes.
3 : to present with The author favored us with a copy of her book.
4 : to make possible or easier Winds favored the ship's journey east.
5 : to look like He favors his mother.



Legal Definition of favor

1 : bias
2 : benefit
in favor of
: to the benefit of a judgment in favor of the defendant
in one's favor
: to one's benefit a donation inter vivos made in his favor

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More from Merriam-Webster on favor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with favor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for favor

Spanish Central: Translation of favor

Nglish: Translation of favor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of favor for Arabic Speakers

Comments on favor

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


something desired as essential

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