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

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 How to pronounce dehumanization (audio) , (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

But its use doesn’t come without controversy, as critics ask if AI could further dehumanize medicine and erode the doctor-patient relationship. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "A Doctor’s Prescription for More AI in Medicine," 4 Mar. 2019 Animals, especially simian ones, were historically racialized in popular culture to dehumanize black people. Nadra Nittle, Vox, "Prada pulled a collection of figurines that drew comparisons to anti-black caricatures," 14 Dec. 2018 References to African Americans as apes and monkeys have long been invoked to dehumanize them and justify their treatment as second-class citizens. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Republican Ron DeSantis says electing black opponent Andrew Gillum would “monkey this up”," 29 Aug. 2018 Families who enter the U.S. to flee violence and seek protection are criminalized, traumatized, and dehumanized. Alexandra Robbins, Marie Claire, "The Welcome Committee," 15 Aug. 2018 But this particular tweet is drawing outrage for its racialized language, with critics noting that black women have long been referred to as dogs or other animals in an effort to dehumanize them. P.r. Lockhart, Vox, "Trump calling Omarosa a “dog” isn’t just racist or sexist. It’s part of a pattern.," 14 Aug. 2018 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

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

13 Mar 2019

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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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