I've never understood the term "humor me". Is it meant sarcastically? Please explain.

  • Humour is a verb there. Aug 19, 2012 at 12:27
  • is it used sarcastically sometimes? Last night I was watching constantine, in that hero uses this often..
    – pahnin
    Aug 19, 2012 at 12:30
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    Any utterance can be used sarcastically. Aug 19, 2012 at 12:32
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    General Reference. Humour Verb (used with object) to comply with the humour or mood of in order to soothe or make content or more agreeable Aug 19, 2012 at 12:35
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    @StoneyB: I've no idea what "constantine" is, or how the hero there uses the expression. But I don't see how your posted answer adds anything to the dictionary definitions in links posted by me and Matt. Aug 19, 2012 at 12:47

2 Answers 2


Humor, as a verb, means literally to indulge or tolerate someone's humor (noun), where the noun intends not the modern sense of joking or a transient mood but the now archaic sense of temperament or idiosyncracy or eccentricity.

Humor me thus means indulge me—in the sense of gimme some slack or gimme a break, but less aggressive than these. It is used most often as an appeal, at once gentle and ironic, to an interlocutor who interrupts one's discourse; it means, approximately, Let's treat what I'm saying (or doing) and you're objecting to as mere personal whim—on that basis, allow me to finish, and then you can have your say.

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    To clarify, this usage of 'humor' as a verb is not archaic; it is very common. The noun isn't that archaic either, but the ideas behind seem from a former age.
    – Mitch
    Aug 19, 2012 at 13:11
  • @Mitch Thank you; I thought I'd sufficiently restricted my attribution of 'archaic' to the noun, but I'll rewrite. I believe that the original sense of permanent character has been in almost entirely replaced in contemporary use by the sense of transient attitude, except ambiguously in such derivatives as "good-humored". We no longer say "He's a man of irascible humor", but we do say "He was in a good humor yesterday." Aug 19, 2012 at 14:00

"Hey, friend. Can I get you to stand right here under this teetering bucket of water?"


"Humor me."

"Oh, alright."

In my opinion, it isn't necessarily sarcastic, it's simply a way of saying: "Just comply with what I'm saying/doing right now and you can contradict me later."

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