humanism

noun
hu·man·ism | \ˈhyü-mə-ˌni-zəm, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from humanism

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

Examples of humanism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

What was likely a fairly modest budget means Au sticks to basics technically, though anything flashy would detract from the pic’s essential humanism. Elizabeth Kerr, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Distinction' ('Fei tung faan heung'): Film Review," 27 June 2018 Stevie Wonder makes an appearance to preach universal love, but unlike a certain other pop idol’s espousing of such notions recently, this is humanism with a progressive edge. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "The Cheerful Radicalism of Janelle Monáe," 28 Apr. 2018 The enlightened humanism of the director of Melvin and Howard is evident in every frame. Patrick Friel, Chicago Reader, "Film / Music / Old Movies to Watch Now / On Video / Small Screen Urgh! A Music War and other punk and postpunk new wave cinema," 10 July 2018 Chay Yew directs this world premiere with a warmth and generosity that matches the humanism and balance of the script. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, "'Lettie' at Victory Gardens: A mother's years lost to prison are years she can't get back," 17 Apr. 2018 Vikander, who can balance flinty charm with sympathetic humanism, helped keep me invested, but Tomb Raider could best be described as a solid step forward, away from past wrongs. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Tomb Raider Is a Gritty Reboot of a Video-Game Classic," 15 Mar. 2018 Here now to make his case, Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker, the author of Enlightenment Now, the case for reason, science, humanism, and progress. Fox News, "Graham hails Trump's stance on North Korea, trade and Russia," 28 Mar. 2018 To him, the Enlightenment’s championing of reason, science, humanism, and moral progress is a model for our own times. David Lay Williams, Washington Post, "What Steven Pinker gets wrong about economic inequality — and the Enlightenment," 11 Mar. 2018 The strands of Ichikawa’s filmmaking linger in so many of the documentaries that follow—both his humanism and his attention to a city’s transformation. David Sims, The Atlantic, "One Hundred Years of the Olympics in Film," 23 Feb. 2018

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

Statistics for humanism

Last Updated

6 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for humanism

The first known use of humanism was in 1836

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for humanism

humanism

noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on humanism

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

WORD OF THE DAY

evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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