- something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind act: to ask a favor.
- friendly or well-disposed regard; goodwill: to win the favor of the king.
- the state of being approved or held in regard: to be in favor at court; styles that are now in favor.
- excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment: to treat some people with favor and others with neglect.
- a gift bestowed as a token of goodwill, kind regard, love, etc., as formerly upon a knight by his lady.
- a ribbon, badge, etc., worn in evidence of goodwill or loyalty, as by an adherent of a political party.
- a small gift or decorative or festive item, as a noisemaker or paper hat, often distributed to guests at a party.
- Usually favors. sexual intimacy, especially as permitted by a woman.
- Archaic. a letter, especially a commercial one.
verb (used with object)
- to regard with favor: to favor an enterprise.
- to prefer; treat with partiality: The father favored his younger son.
- to show favor to; oblige: The king favored him with an audience.
- to be favorable to; facilitate: The wind favored their journey.
- to deal with, treat, or use gently: to favor a lame leg.
- to aid or support: He favored his party’s cause with ample funds.
- to bear a physical resemblance to; resemble: to favor one’s father’s side of the family.
- find favor with, to gain the favor of; be liked by: The play found favor with the opening-night audience.
- in favor of,
- on the side of; in support of: to be in favor of reduced taxation.
- to the advantage of.
- (of a check, draft, etc.) payable to: Make out your checks in favor of the corporation.
- in one’s favor, to one’s credit or advantage: All the comments were in your favor.
- out of favor, no longer liked or approved; no longer popular or fashionable: He’s out of favor with the president and may soon be fired.
c.1300, “attractiveness, charm,” from Old French favor (13c., Modern French faveur) “favor, approval, partiality,” from Latin favorem (nominative favor) “good will, inclination, partiality, support,” coined by Cicero from stem of favere “to show kindness to,” from PIE *ghow-e- “to honor, revere, worship.” Meaning “act of kindness” is from late 14c. Meaning “thing given as a mark of favor” is from 1580s. Phrase in favor of recorded from 1560s.
“to regard with favor, indulge, treat with partiality,” mid-14c., from Old French favorer, from favor (see favor (n.)). Related: Favored; favoring.
Also, in one’s favor.
In support of, approving, as in We are in favor of her promotion, or All the reviews were in his favor. [Mid-1500s]
To the advantage of, as in The court decided in favor of the defendant. [Mid-1500s]
Inscribed or made out to the benefit of, as in The check was made out in favor of the charity. [Mid-1500s]
Out of a preference for, as in The commissioner turned down the new road in favor of improved sewers. [Late 1800s]
see curry favor; in favor of; in favor with; in one’s favor; out of favor; return the compliment (favor).