Amused and humored are yet another pair of words that I see many authors attempt to use interchangeably, but which are not in fact interchangeable.
To amuse means “to entertain or occupy in a light, playful, or pleasant manner” or “to appeal to the sense of humor of.” In the form amused, it can be used as either a past-tense verb or an adjective:
Past-tense verb: He amused himself for hours on the internet.
Adjective: She did her best not to look amused.
Generally, when writers confuse these two words, they are using humored as an adjective where they should have used amused:
Anya was glad to see Lilia laugh; it had been a long time since she’d seen her sister so humored.
I chuckled, mildly humored.
The confusion here likely arises because, as we all know, the noun humor and the adjective humorous both relate to amusement—respectively, they designate the capacity to recognize something as silly, ludicrous, funny, or amusing and the state of being silly, ludicrous, funny, or amusing. The problem is that humored is neither a noun or an adjective; it is a verb that means something entirely different.
To humor means “to soothe or content by indulgence” or “to adapt oneself to.” Basically, it means “to indulge someone for the purpose of calming them down or pleasing them.”
The old woman claimed that there was a dragon in her living room. We humored her and searched the whole house, but of course we didn’t find a thing.
|Humor can also mean "bodily fluid." I was going to give you a picture to go along with that little fact, but I thought better of it. Have a picture of an amused baby instead.|
You should generally be able to replace the verb to humor with the verb to indulge. If you can’t, you’re probably not using it correctly. So, using our examples from above:
CORRECT: The old woman claimed that there was a dragon in her living room. We indulged her and searched the whole house, but of course we didn’t find a thing.
INCORRECT: Anya was glad to see Lilia laugh; it had been a long time since she’d seen her sister so indulged.
I have also seen humored used where the author actually meant good-humored. They are not synonyms.