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From Middle English humorous (compare Medieval Latin hūmorōsus), equivalent to humor +‎ -ous.



humorous (comparative more humorous, superlative most humorous)

  1. Full of humor or arousing laughter; funny.
    The waiters were so humorous - one even did a backflip for us, when we asked him.
  2. Showing humor; witty, jocular.
  3. (obsolete) Damp or watery.
  4. (obsolete) Dependent on or caused by one's humour or mood; capricious, whimsical.
    • c. 1598–1600 (date written), William Shakespeare, “As You Like It”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], lines 380-83:
      [S]uch is now the Duke's condition
      That he misconstrues all that you have done.
      The Duke is humorous; what he is, indeed,
      More suits you to conceive than I to speak of.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, “Of the affection of fathers to their children”, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes [], book II, London: [] Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount [], →OCLC, page 212:
      It is a melancholy humor [] that firſt put this humorous conceipt [translating resverie] of writing into my head.
    • 1861, Elizabeth Gaskell, The Grey Woman:
      I felt at this time as if I could have been fond of him too, if he would have let me; but I was timid from my childhood, and before long my dread of his displeasure [] conquered my humorous inclination to love one who was so handsome, so accomplished, so indulgent and devoted.

Usage notes[edit]

While the spelling humour is preferred over humor in British English, humorous is standard in both American and British English, and humourous is nonstandard.


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