al·​tru·​ist ˈal-trü-ist How to pronounce altruist (audio)
: one that adheres to or practices altruism: such as
: an unselfish person whose actions show concern for the welfare of others
Kim signed up with Compass, a District-based group that serves the growing number of altruists who donate not only time and money to charity and the arts but also their professional expertise.Robert McCartney
: an animal that behaves in a way which is not beneficial to or may be harmful to itself but which benefits the survival of others of its species
Reciprocal altruism refers to the exchange of beneficial acts between individuals, in which the benefits to the recipient exceed the cost to the altruist. … Although the potential for reciprocal altruism exists in many animal societies, most interactions occur between closely related individuals …Robert M. Seyfarth et al.

Examples of altruist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Now no one will trust EAs [effective altruists] and Doomers ever again. Nick Lichtenberg, Fortune, 19 Nov. 2023 Wang and Singh had also become effective altruists, pledging to donate most of their earnings. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2023 Jane Street attracted other young effective altruists, among them Caroline Ellison, the daughter of M.I.T. professors, who had graduated from Stanford. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2023 Many effective altruists have taken inspiration from the philosopher Peter Singer, who argues that, when more than a billion people in the developing world are impoverished and suffering, spending on luxuries is morally flawed. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, 25 Sep. 2023 Effective altruists were once primarily concerned with near-term issues like global poverty and animal welfare. Kevin Roose, New York Times, 11 July 2023 Many of the company’s early hires were effective altruists, and much of its start-up funding came from wealthy E.A.-affiliated tech executives, including Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook, and Jaan Tallinn, a co-founder of Skype. Kevin Roose, New York Times, 11 July 2023 Called rationalists or effective altruists, members of this movement were instrumental in the creation of OpenAI. Cade Metz, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2023 Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, which studies the impact of A.I. and other emerging technologies on national security, was largely funded by Open Philanthropy, an effective altruist giving organization backed by a Facebook co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz. Cade Metz, New York Times, 1 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'altruist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1868, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of altruist was in 1868

Dictionary Entries Near altruist

Cite this Entry

“Altruist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

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