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“Humour” vs. “Humor” (Which Spelling is Correct?)

Is it humour or humor?



Is it “humour” or “humor”?

Insofar as the noun and verb forms of humour/humor are spelled, which refers to “the quality in something that makes it funny; the ability to laugh at things that are funny”. The answer is straightforward, and it concerns regional spelling preferences:


  • British English spells “humour” (with the “u”).


  • American English spells “humor” (without “u”).



Note: UK English is predominant across most English speaking countries worldwide; except, of course, for the United States. By and large, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of Caribbean countries conform to UK English spelling rules and conventions.



Other “-our”/”-or” words

Other words that share the “-our” / “-or” suffix and follow the same spelling convention:

UK EnglishUS English
favourfavor
labourlabor
behaviourbehavior
honourhonor
neighbourneighbor
humourhumor



Other forms of humour/humor

Other verb/noun forms also conform to the same spelling rules based on US/UK English:


Part of speechWord
adverbhumorously; humourlessly
adjectivehumourless



Sentences with humour/humor as a noun

It was a story full of gentle humour/humor.

She ignored his feeble attempt at humour/humor.

They failed to see the humour/humor of the situation.

I can’t stand people with no sense of humour/humor.

She has her very own brand of humour/humor.



Sentences with humour/humor as a verb

She thought it best to humour/humor him rather than get into an argument.

She will actually sit and watch them with me, to humour/humor me.

I know you don’t agree, but just humour/humor me.



Synonyms of humour/humor

  • funniness
  • drollery
  • comedy
  • humorousness
  • hilariousness
  • drollness
  • amusement
  • comicality
  • irony



Phrases with humour/humor

  • good sense of humour
  • ill humour
  • gallows humour (jokes about unpleasant things like death)
  • aqueous humour (the clear liquid inside the front part of the eye)
  • vitreous humour (the clear substance inside the eye)



Origin of the word humor/humour

Etymonline on humour:


Mid-14c., “fluid or juice of an animal or plant,” from Old North French humour “liquid, dampness; (medical) humor; from Latin umor “body fluid”.

—Etymonline, humour.



Learn more about US English vs. UK English



Sources

  1. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of humor.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed 12 February, 2024.
  2. Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, Accessed on 12 February, 2024. “aqueous humour“.


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