humor

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

Definition of humor

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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 woman 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
2a : an often temporary state of mind imposed especially by circumstances was in no humor to listen
b : characteristic or habitual disposition or bent : temperament of cheerful humor
c 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
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 : 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
out of humor
: out of sorts

humor

verb
humored; humoring\ ˈhyüm-​riŋ How to pronounce humor (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 Your beauty is deep and your heart is big enough to love and envelop the world, your sense of humor ... very important ... is insurmountable. Ale Russian, PEOPLE.com, 19 Sep. 2021 Congrats to Britney Spears for getting a man with a Jeep, a shoe collection, and most importantly, a sense of humor. Elizabeth Loga, Glamour, 15 Sep. 2021 The two resent each other for their respective situations, but find common ground in a shared sense of humor, acquired decades apart. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Sep. 2021 That video quickly went viral and the Dan Patrick Show took a victory lap on Twitter for being the first to reveal Saban’s sense of humor that few outside the Alabama football program might hear. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, 14 Sep. 2021 Church is an extremely tall native Tennessean with a slow drawl and a self-deprecating sense of humor. Adrienne So, Wired, 14 Sep. 2021 Remember when red carpet appearances had a sense of humor? Erik Maza, Town & Country, 14 Sep. 2021 Reality, however, clearly has a more surreal sense of humor than any mortal can muster, because this incredible moment of irony is exactly what occurred this weekend in Louisville, Kentucky. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 14 Sep. 2021 But thankfully, Tom is reminding them not to dwell on the past with his signature sense of humor. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, 13 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The film follows a game initiated by the statuesque, woodland-humanoid Green Knight who barges into Camelot, daring a challenger to humor him in sport. Tyler Bey, The Christian Science Monitor, 30 July 2021 His friends challenged Lau to apply, and to humor them, Lau did just that. BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2021 Once at his bedside, the narrator decides to humor him. James Wood, The New Yorker, 17 Aug. 2020 The airport also refuses to humor the theory that says their runways intentionally resemble Nazi swastikas. Joshua Pease, Popular Mechanics, 1 June 2020 But Congress’s reticence to humor his space dreams—and the 2020 election throwing NASA’s future in the air—may make Artemis fire a blank rather than a moonshot. Morgan Enos, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2020 Chrissy Teigen is not humoring the haters in the new year. Cady Lang, Time, 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, 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, 10 Oct. 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 3a

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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Dictionary Entries Near humor

humongous

humor

humoral

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Statistics for humor

Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Humor.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/humor. Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for humor

humor

noun

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 McCloskey, 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 humor (audio) , ˈyü-​ How to pronounce humor (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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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