al·​tru·​is·​tic | \ ˌal-trü-ˈi-stik How to pronounce altruistic (audio) \

Definition of altruistic

: relating to or given to altruism:
a : having or showing an unselfish concern for the welfare of others altruistic acts/motives a generous and altruistic person Yet many of the most important institutions in our society—the fine arts, NGOs, humanitarian charities—depend on the generosity of wealthy citizens with altruistic impulses.— Jonathan Kay
b : relating to or being behavior by an animal that is not beneficial to or may be harmful to the animal itself but that benefits others of its species The evolutionary theory of kin selection requires that social animals recognize their relatives so that altruistic behavior can be displayed preferentially toward kin.Science

Other Words from altruistic

altruistically \ ˌal-​trü-​ˈi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce altruistic (audio) \ adverb
… one of the first researchers to begin to solve the paradox of how the evolutionary struggle to survive and reproduce could give rise to creatures that never reproduce and spend their lives altruistically helping others to survive. — Carol Kaesuk Yoon

First Known Use of altruistic

1853, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of altruistic was in 1853

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Cite this Entry

“Altruistic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on altruistic

Nglish: Translation of altruistic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of altruistic for Arabic Speakers


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