an·​thro·​po·​mor·​phism | \ -ˌfi-zəm How to pronounce anthropomorphism (audio) \

Definition of anthropomorphism

: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics : humanization Children's stories have a long tradition of anthropomorphism.

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Other Words from anthropomorphism

anthropomorphist \ -​fist How to pronounce anthropomorphist (audio) \ noun

Examples of anthropomorphism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Connoisseurs of nature television are well aware that drama is usually attained via the old anthropomorphism gambit, i.e., the characterization of predator and prey as villain and victim. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Enchanted Kingdom’ Review: Emphasis on the Environment," 4 July 2019 That sort of anthropomorphism is generally frowned upon, now, in scientific circles. David Scharfenberg,, "Did humans drive this polar bear insane?," 13 July 2018 Although there are dangers to anthropomorphism, there is also a lot to learn about ourselves from dogs. Author: Christine Cunningham, Anchorage Daily News, "I’ll tell you how easy it is to train a bird dog after my dog stops jumping on you," 9 May 2018 When companies yoke brand anthropomorphism to machine learning, recommendation engines will be irresistible. Tad Friend, The New Yorker, "How Frightened Should We Be of A.I.?," 7 May 2018 The fact that the campaigns involve masquerade, deception, and anthropomorphism—the disguising of robots as people—is part of why the IRA is charged with fraud and not acts of war. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "Social Media Makes Us Soldiers in the War Against Ourselves," 2 May 2018 Not too long ago, Amarello's plea could have been dismissed as well-meaning anthropomorphism. National Geographic, "Even Snakes Have Friends—One More Reason Not to Slaughter Them," 10 Mar. 2016 That notion didn’t always hold sway, and in some ways corrected the excessive anthropomorphism of the 19th century, when such august figures as Charles Darwin ruminated on the maternal affections of starfish and earwigs. Brandon Keim, WIRED, "Gift-Giving Birds May Think Much Like People," 4 Feb. 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anthropomorphism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anthropomorphism

1650, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anthropomorphism

see anthropomorphic

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Statistics for anthropomorphism

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anthropomorphism

The first known use of anthropomorphism was in 1650

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More Definitions for anthropomorphism


an·​thro·​po·​mor·​phism | \ ˌan(t)-thrə-pə-ˈmȯr-ˌfiz-əm How to pronounce anthropomorphism (audio) \

Medical Definition of anthropomorphism

: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics — compare theriomorphism

Other Words from anthropomorphism

anthropomorphic \ -​fik How to pronounce anthropomorphic (audio) \ adjective
anthropomorphically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anthropomorphically (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on anthropomorphism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with anthropomorphism Encyclopedia article about anthropomorphism

Comments on anthropomorphism

What made you want to look up anthropomorphism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

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