humor [hyoo-mer or, often, yoo-] SynonymsWord Origin noun
- 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. Origin of humor 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 Related formshu·mor·ful, adjectivehu·mor·less, adjectivehu·mor·less·ly, adverbhu·mor·less·ness, nounout·hu·mor, verb (used with object)pre·hu·mor, noun, verb (used with object)un·hu·mored, adjectivewell-hu·mored, adjectiveSynonyms for humor 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. Antonyms for humor 12. discipline, restrain. Word Origin and History for well-humored humor n.
mid-14c., “fluid or juice of an animal or plant,” from Old North French humour (Old French humor; Modern French humeur), from Latin umor “body fluid” (also humor, by false association with humus “earth”); related to umere “be wet, moist,” and to uvescere “become wet,” from PIE *wegw- “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 1520s); the sense of “amusing quality, funniness” is first recorded 1680s, probably via sense of “whim, caprice” (1560s), which also produced the verb sense of “indulge,” first attested 1580s. “The pronunciation of the initial h is only of recent date, and is sometimes omitted ….” [OED] For types of humor, see the useful table below, from H.W. Fowler [“Modern English Usage,” 1926].
device HUMOR WIT SATIRE SARCASM INVECTIVE IRONY CYNICISM SARDONIC 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 humor v.
1580s; see humor (n.). Related: Humored; humoring.
well-humored in Medicine humor [hyōō′mər] n.
- A body fluid, such as blood, lymph, or bile.
- Aqueous humor.
- Vitreous humor.
- 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.
- A person’s characteristic disposition or temperament.
- An often temporary state of mind; a mood.
well-humored in Science humor [hyōō′mər]
- See aqueous humor.
- See vitreous humor.
- 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.
Word History: 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. well-humored in Culture humor
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”). Idioms and Phrases with well-humored humor
see out of sorts (humor).