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 The memorial is expected to host national and international exhibitions with themes that concern the defense of human rights, tolerance and humanism. Marcus M. Gilban,, "Rio inaugurates long-awaited Holocaust memorial," 17 Dec. 2020 Earnest humanism was out of step with the political disengagement of Lee Friedlander and Diane Arbus. Richard B. Woodward, WSJ, "‘Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop’ Review: A Black Community Too Long Forgotten," 12 Dec. 2020 Shake, stir, put into a pacey, quippy narrative and the entire enterprise fizzes with good humor and an unshakable faith in humanism. Washington Post, "Best movies of 2020: Diverse thrills, chills, Dickensian laughs and a pandemic-friendly trip to Greece," 8 Dec. 2020 For Lincoln, the debates became the venue for the full expression of his humanism. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "Pulling Our Politics Back from the Brink," 9 Nov. 2020 Yet the acting is grounded and the characters are fully realized, while his odd detours into momentary humanism give the film a surprising sense of gravity. Jason Bailey, New York Times, "10 Unusual Streaming Movies for Unusual Times," 23 Sep. 2020 In the unpicking of these fantasies, Hendren’s humanism shines. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "When the World Isn’t Designed for Our Bodies," 3 Sep. 2020 So keep in mind that there’s a stealth humanism powering Corporate, with relatable social comedy and over-the-top hilarity mixed into Hampton Deville’s paranoid landscape. Darren Franich,, "Farewell to Corporate, a great show that saw the world too clearly," 26 Aug. 2020 Millennial showbiz, mostly in lockstep with the Democratic Party, twists the meaning of traditional showbiz humanism. Armond White, National Review, "What the Beatles’ ‘Revolution’ Means 50 Years Later," 19 Aug. 2020

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

22 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Humanism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for humanism


How to pronounce humanism (audio)

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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