hu·​man·​ism | \ ˈhyü-mə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce humanism (audio) , ˈyü- \

Definition of humanism

1a : devotion to the humanities : literary culture
b : the revival of classical letters, individualistic and critical spirit, and emphasis on secular concerns characteristic of the Renaissance
2 : devotion to human welfare : humanitarianism renowned for his humanism
3 : a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason : secular humanism

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from humanism

humanist \ ˈhyü-​mə-​nist How to pronounce humanism (audio) , ˈyü-​ \ noun or adjective
humanistic \ ˌhyü-​mə-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce humanism (audio) , ˌyü-​ \ adjective
humanistically \ ˌhyü-​mə-​ˈni-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce humanism (audio) , ˌyü-​ \ adverb

Examples of humanism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The show’s big center section turns to Cosimo’s involvement with literature and the revival of humanism. Roberta Smith, New York Times, 24 June 2021 Its overly poetic, quasi-humanism about the gamut of life from birth to death seems more official than universal. Armond White, National Review, 16 June 2021 Technology and humanism combine to create the cities of tomorrow, with individuals who commit themselves to create, develop and test every type of innovation born to meet their needs. Fabio Moioli, Forbes, 10 June 2021 In Virtue Politics, the Harvard Renaissance scholar James Hankins has recently pointed out anew that the sly Machiavelli was the great betrayer of the ethical traditions of medieval civilization and Renaissance humanism alike. M. D. Aeschliman, National Review, 30 May 2021 Part of Proust’s humanism lies in his ability to locate the world exclusively between our ears, without supposing that its residence there is necessarily to be regretted. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 3 May 2021 The most impactful burning event may come from Renaissance Florence, where the humanism and artistic innovation of the Renaissance caused a rebirth of classical Greek and Roman ideals, leaving behind a culture of religious dogmatism and fatalism. Will Jeakle, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2021 No religion or philosophy has ever proclaimed a more radical humanism than that. Robert Barron, WSJ, 2 Apr. 2021 Despite these indications of post-humanist scientific rationalism, Galileo had deep connections to humanism. Jessica Riskin, The New York Review of Books, 23 Feb. 2021

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

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for humanism

see human entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About humanism

Time Traveler for humanism

Time Traveler

The first known use of humanism was in 1836

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near humanism




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for humanism

Last Updated

20 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Humanism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for humanism



English Language Learners Definition of humanism

: a system of values and beliefs that is based on the idea that people are basically good and that problems can be solved using reason instead of religion


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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