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 However, physicians must hold onto their unique and special gifts of humanism and empathetic care for patients. Time, 23 Aug. 2023 With Virtue Politics, Hankins departed significantly from the decades-long consensus on what humanism was and what united its many participants. Erin Maglaque, The New York Review of Books, 31 Aug. 2023 Her humanism is Scrapper’s best, most distinctive quality — the source of its wit. Armond White, National Review, 30 Aug. 2023 And while this may be beyond the scope of the book, humanism can be distorted into the sci-fi human-potential nonsense that infects Silicon Valley and will almost certainly, with artificial intelligence, continue to make human life worse. Mark Oppenheimer, Washington Post, 10 Apr. 2023 Our humanism is a Euro-American ideology, and its keynotes are progress, liberal individualism, agnosticism or atheism, and trusting the science. Dominic Green, WSJ, 24 Mar. 2023 Vogt was a musician of rigorous but unshowy virtuosity and distinctive intelligence, but also, and above all, a profound humanism and a deep moral and emotional imagination. Max Norman, The New Yorker, 5 Sep. 2023 Scrapper’s naturalism and humanism spark a realization that Mike Leigh is the only great English director who has not made a film from the perspective of an impressionable child. Armond White, National Review, 30 Aug. 2023 Mirren is herself an icon of strong independent womanhood and humanism, who empowers as a role model for both women and men, and thus, couldn’t be more fitting for the part. Gideon Meir, Rolling Stone, 26 Aug. 2023 See More

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 1 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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