noun, plural: humors
(physiology) A fluid or a semifluid of an animal body, particularly those located within the eyeball (i.e. aqueous humor and vitreous humor)
The historical usage of the term humor refers to the bodily fluid of an animal. The archaic use of the term cardinal humors pertains to the four temperaments (bodily fluids): blood (haima), yellow bile ( xanthe chole), black bile (melaina chole), and phlegm (phlegma). In ancient and medieval medicine, a system of medicine associated with these cardinal humors was prevalent among Greeks and Romans. Accordingly, these cardinal humors must be in proper relative proportions or balanced since the mood and the health of animals, including humans, depended on them. Otherwise, disease and disabilities would arise. This humor theory was particularly referred to as humorism (or humoralism). Modern medical research in the 19th century paved for the contemporary medicine that is now known and more widely accepted today. The early concept of the term humor is no longer used today and the term’s usage has been limited to certain body fluids such as those within the eyeball, particularly the aqueous humor and the vitreous humor.
Word origin: Latin humor, from umor (“moisture”), humere, from umere (“to be moist”)
- humour (British)