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

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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 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, "What We Find When We Get Lost in Proust," 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, "Anti-Mask Bonfires Are Ridiculous, But They’re Part Of A Long History," 17 Apr. 2021 No religion or philosophy has ever proclaimed a more radical humanism than that. Robert Barron, WSJ, "Recovering the Strangeness of Easter," 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, "When Engineers Were Humanists," 23 Feb. 2021 The program will include courses on education, labor and humanism, followed by internships in Oakland, said Janet Gilmore, a UC Berkeley spokeswoman. Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, "Shocked students, alumnae set to protest closure of historic Mills College in Oakland," 26 Mar. 2021 Americans struggle to recognize humanism in non-white contexts., "I’m Asian American and racism makes COVID-19 more than a pandemic for me," 17 Mar. 2021 The posthumous career of Taccola epitomizes the decline and ultimate disappearance of engineering humanism. Jessica Riskin, The New York Review of Books, "When Engineers Were Humanists," 23 Feb. 2021 In Canada, which prides itself on its humanism, Mr. Ward’s case has been particularly polarizing. Dan Bilefsky, New York Times, "In Canada, Did a Comedian’s Joke Go Too Far?," 20 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.

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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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Time Traveler for humanism

Time Traveler

The first known use of humanism was in 1836

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Statistics for humanism

Last Updated

9 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Humanism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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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

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