Definition of altruism
- charitable acts motivated purely by altruism
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These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'altruism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Altruism refers to a quality possessed by people whose focus is on something other than themselves, and its root reveals the object of those generous tendencies. Altruism derives from the French word autrui, meaning "other people." Autrui in turn developed from the Old French term autre, which means "other" and which itself comes from Latin alter, also meaning "other." That Latin source eventually caused a curious thing to happen. Under the influence of alter, the French autrui gave rise to the altrui- of both the French altruisme and the English altruism. The English term has been in use since at least the mid-1800s.
: feelings and behavior that show a desire to help other people and a lack of selfishness
What made you want to look up altruism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
to grant as a privilege or special favor
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