[hyoo-mer or, often, yoo-]
a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement: the humor of a situation.
the faculty of perceiving what is amusing or comical: He is completely without humor.
an instance of being or attempting to be comical or amusing; something humorous: The humor in his joke eluded the audience.
the faculty of expressing the amusing or comical: The author's humor came across better in the book than in the movie.
comical writing or talk in general; comical books, skits, plays, etc.
humors, peculiar features; oddities; quirks: humors of life.
mental disposition or temperament.
a temporary mood or frame of mind: The boss is in a bad humor today.
a capricious or freakish inclination; whim or caprice; odd trait.
(in medieval physiology) one of the four elemental fluids of the body, blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile, regarded as determining, by their relative proportions, a person's physical and mental constitution.
any animal or plant fluid, whether natural or morbid, as the blood or lymph.
verb (used with object)
to comply with the humor or mood of in order to soothe or make content or more agreeable: to humor a child.
to adapt or accommodate oneself to.
out of humor, displeased; dissatisfied; cross: The chef is feeling out of humor again and will have to be treated carefully.
Also, especially British, humour.

1300–50; Middle English (h)umour < Anglo-French < Latin (h)ūmōr- (stem of (h)ūmor) moisture, fluid (medical Latin: body fluid), equivalent to (h)ūm(ēre) to be wet (see humid) + -ōr- -or1

humorful, adjective
humorless, adjective
humorlessly, adverb
humorlessness, noun
outhumor, verb (used with object)
prehumor, noun, verb (used with object)
unhumored, adjective
well-humored, adjective

4. Humor, wit refer to an ability to perceive and express a sense of the clever or amusing. Humor consists principally in the recognition and expression of incongruities or peculiarities present in a situation or character. It is frequently used to illustrate some fundamental absurdity in human nature or conduct, and is generally thought of as more kindly than wit: a genial and mellow type of humor; his biting wit. Wit is a purely intellectual manifestation of cleverness and quickness of apprehension in discovering analogies between things really unlike, and expressing them in brief, diverting, and often sharp observations or remarks. 9. fancy, vagary. 12. Humor, gratify, indulge imply attempting to satisfy the wishes or whims of (oneself or others). To humor is to comply with a mood, fancy, or caprice, as in order to satisfy, soothe, or manage: to humor an invalid. To gratify is to please by satisfying the likings or desires: to gratify someone by praising him. Indulge suggests a yielding to wishes that perhaps should not be given in to: to indulge an unreasonable demand; to indulge an irresponsible son.

12. discipline, restrain. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source Link To humor
World English Dictionary
humour or humor (ˈhjuːmə)
1.  the quality of being funny
2.  Also called: sense of humour the ability to appreciate or express that which is humorous
3.  situations, speech, or writings that are thought to be humorous
4.  a.  a state of mind; temper; mood
 b.  (in combination): ill humour; good humour
5.  temperament or disposition
6.  a caprice or whim
7.  any of various fluids in the body, esp the aqueous humour and vitreous humour
8.  archaic Also called: cardinal humour any of the four bodily fluids (blood, phlegm, choler or yellow bile, melancholy or black bile) formerly thought to determine emotional and physical disposition
9.  out of humour in a bad mood
10.  to attempt to gratify; indulge: he humoured the boy's whims
11.  to adapt oneself to: to humour someone's fantasies
[C14: from Latin humor liquid; related to Latin ūmēre to be wet, Old Norse vökr moist, Greek hugros wet]
humor or humor
[C14: from Latin humor liquid; related to Latin ūmēre to be wet, Old Norse vökr moist, Greek hugros wet]
'humourful or humor
'humorful or humor
'humourless or humor
'humorless or humor
'humourlessness or humor
'humorlessness or humor

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1340, "fluid or juice of an animal or plant," from Anglo-Norm. humour, from O.Fr. humor, from L. umor "body fluid" (also humor, by false assoc. with humus "earth"), related to umere "be wet, moist," and to uvescere "become wet." In ancient and medieval physiology, "any of the four body fluids" (blood,
phlegm, choler, and melancholy or black bile) whose relative proportions were thought to determine state of mind. This led to a sense of "mood, temporary state of mind" (first recorded 1525); the sense of "amusing quality, funniness" is first recorded 1682, probably via sense of "whim, caprice" (1565), which also produced the verb sense of "indulge," first attested 1588. "The pronunciation of the initial h is only of recent date, and is sometimes omitted ...." [OED] Humorous in the modern sense is first recorded 1705. For types of humor, see the useful table below, from H.W. Fowler ["Modern English Usage," 1926].

motive/aim discovery throwing light amendment inflicting pain discredit exclusiveness self-justification self-relief
province human nature words & ideas morals & manners faults & foibles misconduct statement of facts morals adversity
method/means observation surprise accentuation inversion direct statement mystification exposure of nakedness pessimism
audience the sympathetic the intelligent the self-satisfied victim & bystander the public an inner circle the respectable the self
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

humor hu·mor (hyōō'mər)

  1. A body fluid, such as blood, lymph, or bile.

  2. Aqueous humor.

  3. Vitreous humor.

  4. One of the four fluids of the body, blood, phlegm, choler, and black bile, whose relative proportions were thought in ancient and medieval physiology to determine a person's disposition and general health.

  5. A person's characteristic disposition or temperament.

  6. An often temporary state of mind; a mood.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
humor   (hy'mər)  Pronunciation Key 
  1. See aqueous humor.

  2. See vitreous humor.

  3. One of the four fluids of the body—blood, phlegm, black bile, and yellow bile—whose relative proportions were thought in ancient and medieval medicine to determine general health and character.

Our Living Language  : Doctors in ancient times and in the Middle Ages thought the human body contained a mixture of four substances, called humors, that determined a person's health and character. The humors were fluids (humor means "fluid" in Latin), and they differed from each other in being either warm or cold and moist or dry. Each humor was also associated with one of the four elements, the basic substances that made up the universe in ancient schemes of thought. Blood was the warm, moist humor associated with the element fire, and phlegm was the cold, moist humor associated with water. Black bile was the cold, dry humor associated with the earth, and yellow bile was the warm, dry humor associated with the air. Illnesses were thought to be caused by an imbalance in the humors within the body, as were defects in personality, and some medical terminology in English still reflects these outmoded concepts. For example, too much black bile was thought to make a person gloomy, and nowadays symptoms of depression such as insomnia and lack of pleasure in enjoyable activities are described as melancholic symptoms, ultimately from the Greek word melancholia, "excess of black bile," formed from melan-, "black," and khole, "bile." The old term for the cold, clammy humor, phlegm, lives on today as the word for abnormally large accumulations of mucus in the upper respiratory tract. Another early name of yellow bile in English, choler, is related to the name of the disease cholera, which in earlier times denoted stomach disorders thought to be due to an imbalance of yellow bile. Both words are ultimately from the Greek word chole, "bile."
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

humor definition

An archaic term for any fluid substance in the body, such as blood, lymph, or bile.

Note: Physicians in the Middle Ages believed that four principal humors — blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile — controlled body functions and that a person's temperament resulted from the humor that was most prevalent in the body. Sanguine people were controlled by blood, phlegmatic people by phlegm, choleric people by yellow bile (also known as “choler”), and melancholic people by black bile (also known as “melancholy”).
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Computing Dictionary

humor definition

hacker humour

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see out of sorts (humor).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
Spontaneous humor can relieve tension and be helpful to you, but you're not
  auditioning to star at a comedy club.
It's an obscure field of comedy, to be sure, but the mixture of humor and ego
  is a fine blend.
Every human develops a sense of humor, and everyone's taste is slightly
Glad someone else on these forums has a sense of humor.
Idioms & Phrases
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature