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Sunday, August 12, 2007


The following is quoted from:
Blistein, Elmer M. "Humor." Encyclopedia Americana. 2007. Grolier Online. 13 Aug. 2007 .

Humor, in modern usage, means the comic or laughable. The term itself is the Latin word for "liquid,""fluid," or "moisture." The evolution to its present meaning is historically interesting.

Ancient, medieval, and Renaissance physiology tended to see a person's temperament in balance when the four humors (fluids) of his body (yellow bile, black bile, blood, and phlegm) were in proper proportion. When one fluid exceeded its normal amount, a disproportion resulted. The individual in whom this disproportion occurred would be in a choleric humor if yellow bile were predominant in his system, in a melancholy humor if black bile were predominant, in a sanguine humor if blood were predominant, and in a phlegmatic humor if phlegm were predominant. Whatever humor predominated, the lack of balance indicated a deviation from normal, an excess that required correction.

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