hom·​i·​nin | \ ˈhä-mə-nən How to pronounce hominin (audio) , -ˌnin \

Definition of hominin

: any of a taxonomic tribe (Hominini) of hominids that includes recent humans together with extinct ancestral and related forms

Examples of hominin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Scientists used robots and replica tools to stress test ancient materials and designs used by hominins. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Our Ancient Ancestors Were Pretty Excellent Engineers," 5 Feb. 2020 The Taung Child, our first encounter with an ancient group of proto-humans or hominins called australopithecines, was a turning point in the study of human evolution. Elizabeth Sawchuk, Smithsonian Magazine, "Archaeologists Are Unearthing the Stories of the Past Faster Than Ever Before," 27 Dec. 2019 But among primates, is bipedalism unique to hominins? Briana Pobiner, Smithsonian, "Here’s What 2019 Scientific Discovery Taught Us About Our Human Origins," 13 Dec. 2019 Fossils of hominins, or human ancestors, that old are exceedingly rare and often mere fragments of bone. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "'Unprecedented' skull reveals face of human ancestor," 28 Aug. 2019 After extracting the first genomes from the bones of Stone Age hominins, scientists discovered in 2010 that the early ancestors of Europeans, Asians and Americans reproduced with Neanderthals. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Mysterious 'ghost population' of ancient humans discovered," 13 Feb. 2020 Then in 2014, researchers introduced a novel method based on epigenetics—a set of molecular knobs that can turn gene expression up or down—to analyze gene regulation in long-extinct hominins. Michael Price, Science | AAAS, "Ancient DNA puts a face on the mysterious Denisovans, extinct cousins of Neanderthals," 19 Sep. 2019 Why did a hominin 1.5 million years ago pick this kind of rock, and why this particular chunk of it? Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists put stone tools through modern engineering tests," 3 Feb. 2020 By the 1950s, anthropologists had accepted that Taung was indeed a hominin and that an exceptionally large brain had not always been a distinguishing characteristic of humans. Quanta Magazine, "How Humans Evolved Supersize Brains," 10 Nov. 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hominin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hominin

1989, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hominin

New Latin Hominini, from Homin-, Homo + -ini, tribe suffix, from Latin -inus -ine entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hominin

Time Traveler for hominin

Time Traveler

The first known use of hominin was in 1989

See more words from the same year

Statistics for hominin

Last Updated

22 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hominin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hominin. Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

Comments on hominin

What made you want to look up hominin? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

March 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • field of crocuses
  • Which is a synonym of rectitudinous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!