Humorous (sometimes spelled funny) is a term used to describe any kind of humorous discourse, either in person or on paper. Humorous (often spelled funny) 1 often causing laughter or amusement; humorous; comical; causing or exaggerating social jokes. The word ‘humorous’ (sometimes spelled funny) is usually used in a non-literally way referring to the use of wit and imagination to point out or even poke fun at someone or something. Often the term is used in a colloquial way, meaning ‘using funny words or phrases’. It’s worth taking a look at the three main definitions and then seeing if the meaning of funny changes.
Humorous (often spelled funny) is used to describe situations where one or another person points out the flaw or absurdity of another person’s perspective, idea, or argument – often using exaggerated or witty gestures, specifically where the target audience is typically younger (particularly children). People often take offence when they are subjected to some form of satire, and many find that other people laugh so easily at supposedly sensitive situations that this is a common trigger for them to react negatively. The exact lines of the argument can vary, but it’s usually about something that person finds ridiculous or funny, such as a situation where a politician has made a seemingly obvious mistake, or where an athlete is ridiculed over a perceived flaw. It’s often a part of political humour and the debate surrounding it. Often the target of the comedy is one of the participants themselves who may not necessarily be aware that they’re being poked at.
The third common meaning of funny is to generate mild irritation or unrest, often with the intention of causing even more fuss or confusion. A good example of this would be comments such as “She seemed extremely bored today… What did she say?” (an opinion that many may well share) or “You know what, he’s not the only employee who’s a little bit dull…” (a comment that could equally apply to a boss).
Historically, this third sense of humor was used to refer to certain people or institutions, such as newspapers or universities. In these settings people would seek out the absolute funniest joke that anyone could find. Today, however, many of us enjoy the occasional bit of humor, and even adults enjoy many popular stand up comedy shows and comedy movies. In fact, many of the guests at parties and dinners around the world continually comment on the fact that everyone in their social circle is incredibly funny and that the world needs more of this.
Research has also shown that humor can have a direct effect on memory. When subjects were exposed to funny statements, they were able to remember them better than they were exposed to unrelated statements. This effect can be particularly effective for people who have a problem remembering things. Humor seems to make the brain release chemicals associated with pleasure, therefore making the process of memory retention faster and easier. Therefore, knowing that the mere act of laughter can have a direct positive effect on brain function can actually lead to a greater need for laughter in general.
However, one should not mistake this for a universal truth. Laughter does not automatically make someone a better person or even a wiser individual. The best way to find funny things or jokes is to use your common sense and look for the everyday examples that you have around you. For example, if your co-worker every week makes fun of something without really explaining why, that’s probably not a good sign and should be reported to management. Conversely, if you overhear someone making fun of something completely unimportant but clearly enjoys it, that could be a very good thing, because it indicates that the person finds the situation amusing.