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.

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 In this way and many others, recent research has revealed, trees are spellbinding, rife for anthropomorphism. Lauren Markham, Wired, 9 Oct. 2021 Perhaps at this point anthropomorphism is elevated into empathy. Peter Keough,, 18 Mar. 2021 This enterprise may be suspected of anthropomorphism—the projection onto animals of our own thoughts and feelings. Robert O. Paxton, The New York Review of Books, 25 Feb. 2021 Some have explored this in questions of anthropomorphism, others in discussions about the anthropocene. Deboki Chakravarti, Scientific American, 3 Sep. 2021 The article presented these anecdotes wryly, for the most part, as instances of harmless anthropomorphism, but the same instinct was already driving public policy. Meghan O'gieblyn, Wired, 24 Aug. 2021 Nicholas Epley, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, is an expert on anthropomorphism, or attributing humanlike characteristics to non-humans. Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2021 There is some risk of anthropomorphism at play here. Jennifer Ouellette, Wired, 23 July 2021 The anthropomorphism — putting things that are not human in human form — is a constant. Gregory Mcnamee, CNN, 14 June 2021 See More

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.

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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The first known use of anthropomorphism was in 1650

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Cite this Entry

“Anthropomorphism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on anthropomorphism Encyclopedia article about anthropomorphism


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