Abstract This article discusses four ways of understanding the concept of humor: 1) in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions, as 2) a cluster concept, 3) an interpretive concept, and 4) a dual character concept. We peruse both historical and contemporary research on humor, but instead of asking “What is humor?,” we draw conclusions regarding what humor research tells us of the ways to conceptualize humor. The main merits and shortcomings of different approaches are explicated. We suggest that the increased awareness of conceptual options will help the field of humor research to construct ever better theories on the elusive subject matter.

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