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

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 weakness of humanism is the Gallic shrug that lets everything pass as too complex for judgment; its strength is its assertion of the plurality of human experience which cautions us from judging others too easily. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 12 Sep. 2022 This is a weird and wonderfully expansive story, adroitly executed by Morosini with the compassion to mine it for humanism rather than droll, oddball quirk. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 2 Aug. 2022 With themes of feminism, maternity, humanism and religion, both artists dabble in a spiritual surrealism that is difficult to quantify or estimate. San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Mar. 2022 Life in Germany under the Weimar Republic, and then his years of uncertainty and exile after 1933, had been his schooling in bourgeois humanism and liberal democracy. Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2022 The post-war West quickly cut ties with Christian humanism and accepted much of the Marxist critique of bourgeois society regarding education, religion, and the family. Richard M. Reinsch Ii, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Over the past 30 years, Darnielle has used the Mountain Goats to expound a sort of small-scale, lo-fi humanism. Robert Rubsam, The New Republic, 24 Feb. 2022 The demonstrations, during which some protesters have desecrated national memorials and threatened residents, have shaken a country known globally as a model for humanism, peace and serenity. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 8 Feb. 2022 In that book, Dewey regarded humanism as the culmination of humankind’s religious quest. D.g. Hart, WSJ, 21 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of humanism

1836, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for humanism

see human entry 1

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The first known use of humanism was in 1836

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Humanism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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