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The Brief Etymology of the Word Humor

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Imagine for a moment the vast history of the languages of the world. The base sounds that over time formed into words, words that eventually evolved into language, language that branched and developed into different languages. Modern languages adopted words from ancient languages, and adapted the definitions to meet the requisites of the civilizations for which they served. This development in language is due to the fundamental need for the human race to communicate effectively with one another. Therefore, it is not surprising that many words have dual meanings. For instance the word, humor, has expanded from its original definition to encompass the interpretation available in modern English. The following is a brief view of the complex etymology of the word humor. Presently, people use the word, humor, to describe an event or person that one finds comical. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, one definition is, “The quality that makes something laughable or amusing.” (The American Heritage Dictionary). However, in ancient times the word humor had a completely different meaning. Amazingly, the word, humor, traces its origins back to the ancient Romans, whose spoken and written language was Latin in approximately 900 AD. According to Dictionary.com, the word humor developed from the Latin word umor, which means moisture. It was during the 13th century in old Northern French language that the word humor was developed. The Online Etymology Dictionary defines humor
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