de·​hu·​man·​ize | \(ˌ)dē-ˈhyü-mə-ˌnīz, (ˌ)dē-ˈyü-\

Definition of dehumanize 

transitive verb

: to deprive of human qualities, personality, or spirit

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Other Words from dehumanize

dehumanization \(ˌ)dē-​ˌhyü-​mə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən, (ˌ)dē-​ˌyü-​ \ noun

Synonyms for dehumanize


animalize, bestialize, brutalize

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Examples of dehumanize in a Sentence

Inspectors have observed terrible factory conditions that dehumanize workers. the dehumanizing nature of torture

Recent Examples on the Web

Following this, dehumanizing propaganda alters norms of what is and isn’t perceived as acceptable views or behavior. Aliza Luft, Washington Post, "How dangerous is it when Trump calls some immigrants ‘animals’?," 25 May 2018 In fact, some of Donald Trump’s favorite immigrants to dehumanize are teenage boys – namely, the junior members of the street gang MS-13. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Ended Family Separation Because Dehumanizing Infants Is Hard," 20 June 2018 On another level, though, this is an instrumental argument that dehumanizing anyone leads to bad outcomes. Dara Lind, Vox, "Trump’s “animals” remark and the ensuing controversy, explained," 21 May 2018 But as long as the business model remains profitable and men dehumanize women, Hooters will continue operating as a place where men can ogle women in low cut shirts and short-shorts. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "It’s Time for Hooters to GTFO," 23 June 2018 Moreover, research that looks at the timing of radio broadcasts in Rwanda and when massacres occurred finds no correlation between dehumanizing discourse on the radio and individuals’ participation in genocide. Aliza Luft, Washington Post, "How dangerous is it when Trump calls some immigrants ‘animals’?," 25 May 2018 This administration has been telling a story about immigrants to dehumanize them, to portray immigrant families as less than fully human, less than mothers and fathers and now children. Rebecca Traister, The Cut, "Cages, ‘Infestations,’ and the Demonization of Immigrants," 27 June 2018 The language, Jazmine Ulloa wrote, was part of a pattern of using rhetoric about criminality to dehumanize undocumented migrants. David Lauter,, "Faced with a political crisis, Trump blinks, but the crisis isn't close to being over," 22 June 2018 The attack on the Yazidis was an attempt to dehumanize them and erase their identity, said a humanitarian aid worker in the region who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the work. Fox News, "Clinic rescues hearts, and minds, of young Yazidis abused by ISIS," 21 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dehumanize.' 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 dehumanize

1818, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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The first known use of dehumanize was in 1818

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English Language Learners Definition of dehumanize

: to treat (someone) as though he or she is not a human being

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