Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


"Do let him, Mrs. Alderling," I entreated, humoring his joke at her silence.

You may think I am humoring Hartman too much, and letting him shirk the subject.

But I went with the guard this time, not with the women,—thanks to a whim the men had for humoring me.

It was a long time before he realized that she was humoring him.

Judith, my niece, has almost ruined the boy by humoring him.

I have no intention of humoring her caprices, or disarranging the family to suit her whims.

"You can repay me by humoring all my whims," said Uncle Oliver, smiling.

But you will lessen the trial by humoring her in this and everything else that is reasonable?

The boys, humoring his desire not to go into the house, led him at once to Rome.

He saw no harm in humoring her, and did as she had suggested.


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].


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.