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

Examples of anthropomorphism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hardly a word is uttered, and anthropomorphism is minimal. Peter Keough,, "Looking at this year’s Oscar final five," 18 Mar. 2021 The tacit argument of a zoo is that anthropomorphism is a constructive fiction — a way for humans to connect with other animals and develop a stake in their fates. Molly Young, Curbed, "43 Minutes With Happy the Elephant," 15 Mar. 2021 The figures that populate Kohlmann’s paintings—which have been used to illustrate numerous Vogue articles in the past—carry all of the strange anthropomorphism of Picasso’s ceramics while adding a more mysterious, genderless top note. Liam Hess, Vogue, "Emma Kohlmann’s New Exhibition Is an Otherworldly Oasis in the Heart of the City," 26 Oct. 2020 What drew you to write about mythology and anthropomorphism? Saira Khan, WSJ, "K-Ming Chang’s “Bestiary”: A Debut Novel in Which Mythology Is Real and A Girl Turns Into a Tiger," 1 Oct. 2020 What’s more, few scientists have historically been willing to wade into the squishier subject matter of human-wildlife relationships, fearing being dismissed for anthropomorphism, or worse, labeled a quack. Christopher Keyes, Outside Online, "The Life-Changing Benefits of Animal Encounters," 16 Dec. 2019 Scientists have traditionally poo-pooed anthropomorphism, the attribution of human feelings and motives to animals. Emily Underwood, Science | AAAS, "Lab rats play hide-and-seek for the fun of it, new study shows," 12 Sep. 2019 Liz is hardly the only example of residential anthropomorphism to hit the market in the recent years. Lavanya Ramanathan,, "From ‘Liz’ to ‘The Jason’: The bizarre trend of fancy apartments with human names," 23 Aug. 2019 But at every turn the exacting digital realism clashes with and cancels out the anthropomorphism, the glorious and unapologetic cartoonishness, that is crucial to this story’s success. Los Angeles Times, "‘The Lion King’ is a huge hit. It might also be Disney’s most dispiriting remake yet," 22 July 2019

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

Greek anthrōpómorphos "having human form" + -ism — more at anthropomorphic

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Time Traveler for anthropomorphism

Time Traveler

The first known use of anthropomorphism was in 1650

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Statistics for anthropomorphism

Last Updated

1 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Anthropomorphism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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

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