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

With Gonzalez's spot due up, manager Craig Counsell pulled him at 56 pitches in favor of Sunday callup David Freitas. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 4, Cubs 0: Christian Yelich's three-run homer clinches must-win series at Wrigley Field," 1 Sep. 2019 Woodfin’s campaign staff bypassed traditional campaign tactics like canvassing neighborhoods in favor of analytics. Anna Beahm | Abeahm@al.com, al, "Political operative wears hats for Birmingham’s Woodfin and Vermont’s Sanders," 1 Sep. 2019 Spalding coach Kyle Schmitt pulled Tutas in favor of Nick Gutierrez to start the second half. baltimoresun.com, "Archbishop Spalding rolls to 56-0 season-opening football victory," 31 Aug. 2019 Lakota East kept things interesting with a 27-yard touchdown reception by junior wide receiver John Scott in the final minute of the first half to make the score 21-14 in favor of Turpin. Donnie Menke, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati, Ohio high school football: Turpin Spartans beat Lakota East Thunderhawks 35-21," 31 Aug. 2019 Shaw, as a member of the House minority, repeatedly voted in favor of a $3,000 dividend. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, "Dunleavy picks state Rep. Laddie Shaw to fill Alaska state Senate vacancy," 31 Aug. 2019 Mooseheart, a small private school near Aurora, started playing football more than a century ago, but this year is forgoing the sport in favor of its first boys soccer team. John Keilman, chicagotribune.com, "Illinois high school football participation hits 26-year low, but some sports growing in popularity, including boys volleyball, girls wrestling, lacrosse," 30 Aug. 2019 Further straining relations, Taiwanese officials have repeatedly spoken out in favor of anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong. Washington Post, "Taiwan demands China disclose whereabouts of missing citizen," 30 Aug. 2019 Although San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer has already come out in favor of a community energy approach, the San Diego City Council has not yet formally approved the effort. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Community energy: More and more cities want in on the power-purchase game," 30 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bennet said the threshold favored Steyer, and a memo by his campaign accused the billionaire of trying to buy his way into the debate. Brian Slodysko, The Denver Post, "10 Democrats set for next debate as Michael Bennet, several others miss cut," 29 Aug. 2019 Other lower-tier candidates have said the system favors visibility and restricts new voices. Jeff Barker, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland’s John Delaney won’t qualify for next presidential debate, but says he’s still in the race," 28 Aug. 2019 The Golden State Warriors may favor the fast break on the basketball court, but in terms of promoting Chase Center, their new home in San Francisco, the team has mastered the art of the slow reveal. John King, SFChronicle.com, "Chase Center has moment in media spotlight, mammoth scoreboard and all.," 26 Aug. 2019 Check yourself: Suburban women in Pennsylvania favor stricter gun laws by a pretty wide margin in a new GOP poll, PA Post’s Katie Meyer writes. cleveland.com, "More economic uncertainty with tariffs, steelworker layoffs and angry farmers: The Flyover," 21 Aug. 2019 Biden suggested that some of his rivals favor immigration laws that are far too forgiving. Author: Steve Peoples, Sara Burnett, Anchorage Daily News, "Democrats’ divisions in debates test Biden’s front-runner strength," 1 Aug. 2019 Biden suggested that some of his rivals favor immigration laws that are far too forgiving. Steve Peoples And Sara Burnett, Houston Chronicle, "Democrats' divisions test Biden's front-runner strength," 1 Aug. 2019 Habyarimana was torn between the opposition, which favored sharing power with the R.P.F., and the ultra-radical wing of his majority, which openly expressed its genocidal intentions. Maggie Calt, Harper's magazine, "Brutal from the Beginning," 22 July 2019 Other jurisdictions, including Milwaukee, Appleton, Racine, Green Bay and Eau Claire, also have decriminalized, according to the group NORML, which favors legalization. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "In Wisconsin, you're more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession if you're black. Legalization may not change that.," 18 July 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

4 Sep 2019

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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

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