humor

noun
hu·​mor | \ ˈhyü-mər How to pronounce humor (audio) , ˈyü- \

Definition of humor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a normal functioning bodily semifluid or fluid (such as the blood or lymph)
b physiology : a secretion (such as a hormone) that is an excitant of activity
2a 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 … conceived the humor of impeaching casual passers-by … and wreaking vengeance on them.— Charles Dickens the uncertain humors of nature
3a : that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous : a funny or amusing quality Try to appreciate the humor of the situation.
b : the mental faculty of discovering, expressing, or appreciating the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous : the ability to be funny or to be amused by things that are funny a guy with a great sense of humor
c : something that is or is designed to be comical or amusing The book is a collection of American humor. not a fan of the comedian's brand of humor
out of humor
: out of sorts

humor

verb
humored; humoring\ ˈhyüm-​riŋ How to pronounce humoring (audio) , ˈyüm-​ , ˈhyü-​mə-​ , ˈyü-​ \

Definition of humor (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to soothe or content (someone) by indulgence : to comply with the temperament or inclinations of The only way to get along with him is to humor him. I know you don't agree, but just humor me.
2 : to adapt oneself to yielding to, and humoring the motion of the limbs and twigs— William Bartram

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Choose the Right Synonym for humor

Noun

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

Verb

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

Did You Know?

In the Middle Ages it was believed that a person’s health and disposition were the result of a balance of four fluids in the body. These fluids were called humors, from the Latin word humor, meaning “moisture.” The fluids were blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile. If a person had a cheerful disposition, it was said to be a result of an excess of blood. A sluggish disposition was the result of an excess of phlegm. A hot-tempered disposition was said to be caused by an excess of yellow bile, and the disposition of a gloomy person was the result of an excess of black bile. In time, humor came to be used as a general term for “disposition or temperament.” From this developed the sense of “a changeable state of mind” or “mood.” More recently humor has come to refer to something that is funny.

Examples of humor in a Sentence

Noun He didn't appreciate the humor of the situation. Someday, you'll see the humor in this. Everyone likes the gentle humor of his stories of family life. She doesn't care for ethnic humor. The book is a collection of American humor. His humor is one of his most attractive qualities. Verb The only way to get along with him is to humor him. humored her grandfather by listening to his war stories for the hundredth time
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun He was known for his kindness, sense of humor and quick wit. South Bend Tribune, Indianapolis Star, "Mishawaka's longest-serving mayor, Robert Beutter, dies at 84," 3 Jan. 2020 Teigen’s proved many times that humor can be the best way to handle Internet trolls, notably taking to Twitter to take her haters (the most notable of whom may be President Donald Trump, who went so far as to block her) to task. Cady Lang, Time, "Chrissy Teigen Calls Out Internet Troll Who Accused Her of Editing a Swimsuit Photo," 2 Jan. 2020 Comedian and filmmaker Judd Apatow, who was mentored by Shandling, tells the story of how the late comedian lived his life with a combination of self-conscious humor and plenty of neurosis to go around. John J. Kelly, Detroit Free Press, "Holiday gift guide 2019: The best books that will inspire and delight readers," 7 Dec. 2019 But the wordless moments of humor and heart in the quieter scenes show Flanagan’s deft way with storytelling. John Wenzel, The Know, "Review: “Doctor Sleep” melds King, Kubrick’s dark visions into an alluring nightmare," 8 Nov. 2019 The humor in the new show is of a different variety, though — softer, more diffident, more resigned, with an ephemeral, storybook quality. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: The Lighter Side of Life After Prison," 7 Nov. 2019 The former president spoke lovingly of his brother's good humor and hard work, but acknowledged the consequences of his sibling's dealings with the Libyan government. CBS News, ""Mobituaries": Remembering first brother Billy Carter," 1 Nov. 2019 Garcia tells me that trying to balance the dark payload of Highline’s millennial piece with at least some humor was one of the biggest challenges. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "When the Web Was Weird," 31 Oct. 2019 In addition to possessing exceptional work skills, Watson’s sunny disposition, sense of humor and ever-present smile are tremendous assets that add to the overall success of the fire services. Susan Harrison, baltimoresun.com, "Lifelong Elkridge resident honored for dedication to Howard fire service," 23 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Chrissy Teigen is not humoring the haters in the new year. Cady Lang, Time, "Chrissy Teigen Calls Out Internet Troll Who Accused Her of Editing a Swimsuit Photo," 2 Jan. 2020 The 2-year-old black domestic shorthair kitty is said to possess a natural cleverness and is always full of cute antics that humor everyone around him. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Best buds for life and more up for adoption in Valley shelters," 25 Oct. 2019 But the town is also just a town, with policemen who humor a silly old woman, up to a point, where some friends come visit and eat baked goods and talk about poetry, and the eeriness vanishes like a menacing shadow when the lamp turns on. Rachel Riederer, The New Republic, "Olga Tokarczuk’s Gripping Eco-Mystery," 10 Oct. 2019 But amid these horrors, humor me in my small protest against Comcast and Altitude Sports. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: If you can’t impeach …; Erosion in our society; No need to know whistle-blower; Fans are victims of greed; more responses (11/15/19)," 15 Nov. 2019 Gehrke told his superior about the wire, but his boss humored him and told him they’d handle things, reminding him not to discuss it with the media. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Baseball’s sign-stealing controversy is an old story with a modern, high-tech twist," 15 Nov. 2019 The world watched as the Puerto Rican people proved some of the most good-humored yet determined protestors in recent history. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, "Puerto Rico’s Loud and Fervent Days of Protest," 26 July 2019 Though hundreds of fans found the post to be entertaining, Delilah Belle, on the other hand, was not humored in the slightest. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Lisa Rinna Compares Her Sex Life to the Movie Fight Club Grossing Out Daughter Delilah Belle Hamlin," 19 June 2019 That wasn't the case for my more cautious 14-year-old, who kindly braved the Boomerang mostly to humor her sister. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Illinois' biggest water park, Raging Waves, is a less hectic alternative to the Dells," 19 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'humor.' 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 humor

Noun

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

Verb

1597, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for humor

Noun and Verb

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

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Learn More about humor

Time Traveler for humor

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for humor

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Humor.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humor. Accessed 22 January 2020.

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More Definitions for humor

humor

noun
How to pronounce humor (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of humor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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

humor

verb

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

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

humor

noun
hu·​mor | \ ˈhyü-mər How to pronounce humor (audio) , ˈyü- \

Kids Definition of humor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the amusing quality of something She couldn't see the humor of the situation.
2 : the ability to see or tell the amusing quality of things
3 : state of mind : mood … they were not in a very good humor because they had been arguing …— Robert McClosky, Homer Price

Other Words from humor

humorless \ -​ləs \ adjective

humor

verb
humored; humoring

Kids Definition of humor (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give in to the wishes of I humored her and listened to her ridiculous idea.

humor

noun
hu·​mor
variants: or chiefly British humour \ ˈhyü-​mər How to pronounce humour (audio) , ˈyü-​ How to pronounce humour (audio) \

Medical Definition of humor

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 in 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 sense 3, phlegm sense 1, yellow bile

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More from Merriam-Webster on humor

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for humor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with humor

Spanish Central: Translation of humor

Nglish: Translation of humor for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of humor for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about humor

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