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 anthropomorphist (audio) \ noun

Examples of anthropomorphism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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 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

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

Cite this Entry

“Anthropomorphism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2020.

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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

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