When did Humour become Funny?

As a minor research point, I came to the question, when did humour become funny? According to Google Ngram, about 1847.

I’m not asking when humanity developed comedy, but rather when the term “humour” came to mean “mirth.” In the 17th and 18th centuries, and probably earlier to some extent I have not researched, one could be in a good humour, or a bad humour, and there were the different humours of the body (wet, dry, cold, hot, as a whole medical theory which now seems to us as rather silly and very archaic). Likewise, one could be in a good temper or a bad temper, although “temper” today has come to almost exclusively indicate anger and impatience, as in a temper tantrum.

But over the course of the 19th century, “humour” shifted almost entirely to “mirth”, and, as you can see in the chart, “mirth” dropped significantly in usage.

(We don’t necessarily see a similar pattern with temper and wrath, but temper and humour serve very different purposes in our language, and temper seems to be declining in use overall.)


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