hu·​man·​ism ˈhyü-mə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce humanism (audio)
: devotion to the humanities : literary culture
: the revival of classical letters, individualistic and critical spirit, and emphasis on secular concerns characteristic of the Renaissance
: devotion to human welfare : humanitarianism
renowned for his humanism
: 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
humanist noun or adjective
humanistic adjective
humanistically adverb

Examples of humanism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An 18-year-old senior has been collecting signatures and filling out paperwork to start the club, affiliated with The Satanic Temple, a non-theistic religious organization that does not support supernatural explanations, but instead promotes humanism. Sarah Ritter, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024 The light triad includes positive personality traits: faith in humanity, humanism, and Kantianism.4 Kantianism is the philosophical teachings of Immanuel Kant, who argued that your motive matters rather than the consequences. Stephanie Booth, Health, 30 Mar. 2024 Together, these two dramas confirm Anderson’s shift from humanism to sardonic harshness. Armond White, National Review, 15 Mar. 2024 What emerges is an unapologetic account from a Catholic leader who balances his role as defender of traditional doctrine with humanism and the distinct perspective of the Global South. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 14 Mar. 2024 This movie quietly evokes the quirky humanism of early Jonathan Demme — go see it! Andy Hoglund,, 15 Oct. 2023 Miguel de Cervantes experienced all of it, and that is precisely what conditioned the humanism and complexity of his work. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 30 Jan. 2024 It’s become a cliché to praise a filmmaker for loving his characters, as if doing so made said characters worthier of our interest, or if humanism were an inherent artistic virtue. Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times, 7 Dec. 2023 Episodes about a woman who made a brief career of pretending to be Aretha Franklin, the murder of a wolf in Yellowstone Park, and the unraveling of the rapper G. Dep — who voluntarily confessed to killing a man 17 years after the fact — demonstrate the show’s range and humanism. Reggie Ugwu, New York Times, 4 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'humanism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see human entry 1

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of humanism was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near humanism

Cite this Entry

“Humanism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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