1. A gracious, friendly, or obliging act that is freely granted: do someone a favor.
a. Friendly or favorable regard; approval or support: won the favor of the monarch; looked with favor on the plan.
b. A state of being held in such regard: a style currently in favor.
3. Unfair partiality; favoritism: The referees were warned not to show favor to either team.
a. A privilege or concession: had the favor of talking with her for an hour.
b. favors Permission to engage in sexual activity, especially when granted by a woman to a male partner.
a. Something given as a token of love, affection, or remembrance.
b. A small decorative gift given to each guest at a party.
6. Advantage; benefit: sailed under favor of cloudless skies.
7. Behalf; interest: an error in our favor.
8. Obsolete A communication, especially a letter.
a. Aspect or appearance.
b. Countenance; face.
10. Obsolete A facial feature.
v. fa·vored, fa·vor·ing, fa·vors
1. To perform a kindness or service for; oblige. See Synonyms at oblige.
a. To have a liking for; be partial to; prefer: favored coffee over tea at breakfast; favored the suitor with the quick wit.
b. To approve, advocate, or support: economists who favor free trade.
c. To show partiality or unfair preference to: thought the law favored men over women.
3. To believe to be most likely to succeed: The Tigers are favored to win the championship.
a. To be advantageous to; make more likely to be successful: Darkness favored their escape. The climate favors conifers.
b. To speed up or otherwise increase the success of (a chemical process or pathway): Increasing the pressure favors the reaction.
5. To treat with care; be gentle with: favored my wounded leg.
6. Chiefly Southern US To resemble in appearance: She favors her father.
Chiefly Southern US
To resemble another in appearance: She and her father favor.
in favor of
1. In support of; approving: We are in favor of her promotion to president.
2. To the advantage of: The court decided in favor of the plaintiff.
3. Inscribed or made out to the benefit of: a check in favor of a charity.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin, from favēre, to be favorable.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.