de·​hu·​man·​ize | \ (ˌ)dē-ˈ(h)yü-mə-ˌnīz How to pronounce dehumanize (audio) \
dehumanized; dehumanizing; dehumanizes

Definition of dehumanize

transitive verb

: to deprive (someone or something) of human qualities, personality, or dignity: such as
a : to subject (someone, such as a prisoner) to inhuman or degrading conditions or treatment "… you treat people with respect, you get respect back. You treat them like animals, you strip search them, you dehumanize them, you lock them up, you don't feed them … you are going to get that back … "— Adelina Iftene
b : to address or portray (someone) in a way that obscures or demeans that person's humanity or individuality propaganda that dehumanizes the enemy I'm always struck by the way language is used to dehumanize others.— Anna Lind-Guzik Treating Chicagoland violence as merely a tally necessarily dehumanizes its victims, but it also obscures so much of the larger story about that violence.— Gene Demby But that approach ignores the fundamental dynamics of racism, which dehumanizes people along crude lines, ignoring any internal distinctions among those with broadly similar looks, treating them all as uniformly suspicious.— Sangay K. Mishra
c : to remove or reduce human involvement or interaction in (something, such as a process or place) Nurses are also fearful that the use of technology will dehumanize patient care.— Laurie A. Huryk Social media dehumanizes personal interactions, taking them out of the dining room, the neighborhood store and workplace and into a nowhere we call cyberspace.— Kay S. Hymowitz "To me, Ms. Cao [Fei] is trying to portray that, even in a dehumanized environment like the automated warehouse, you need that inspiration or that order from up high."— David Barboza

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Other Words from dehumanize

dehumanization \ (ˌ)dē-​ˌ(h)yü-​mə-​nə-​ˈzā-​shən How to pronounce dehumanize (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for dehumanize


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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 The great tension in modern-day RPA warfare is between the need to dehumanize the target for the psychological health of the striker and the development of a certain intimacy with the target before and after the strike. Wayne Phelps, WSJ, 5 June 2021 When portrayals erase, dehumanize, or otherwise demean the API community, the consequences can be dire. Dino-ray Ramos, Forbes, 18 May 2021 When portrayals erase, dehumanize, or otherwise demean the API community, the consequences can be dire. Los Angeles Times, 18 May 2021 Believe Indigenous victims of violence and get rid of mascots that dehumanize Native people, activists say [Tribune]. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 6 May 2021 Moreover, online shaming tends to dehumanize those on the receiving end and can turn a person who has violated a social norm into a target undeserving of empathy in the eyes of an online mob. NBC News, 1 May 2021 There’s so many things in the system that are set up to demoralize and dehumanize the residents. Valeria Ricciulli, Curbed, 22 Apr. 2021 To institute racist immigration policies that dehumanize those searching for a new life in the United States. Edward J. Markey And Mondaire Jones, CNN, 15 Apr. 2021 Equitable global vaccine production and distribution that does not dehumanize people in the Global South is critical; the U.S. is well-positioned to mobilize its resources utilizing existing military infrastructure to lead these efforts. Christopher Jackson, Scientific American, 5 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for dehumanize

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The first known use of dehumanize was in 1818

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Statistics for dehumanize

Last Updated

9 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Dehumanize.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for dehumanize



English Language Learners Definition of dehumanize

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

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