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 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 The intricacy of politics and religious morality — the essential paradox of Italy’s Marxist intellectuals achieving great cinematic humanism — overwhelms Ferrara’s laborious method. Armond White, National Review, 2 June 2023 Of the many, many, many reasons to respect Willie Nelson (who hand-picked the talent for this Bowl bash), his willingness as a country legend to buck red-state orthodoxy — and to emphasize the humanism that’s core to country music — is near the top. Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times, 30 Apr. 2023 Ireland brimming with the writer-director’s signature elixir of acid, operatic profanity and skeptical humanism. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2022 Anderson is often accused of being too twee, too White, but his films also argue that a well-articulated aesthetic, and a respect for it, is the backbone of humanism. Rachel Tashjian, Washington Post, 21 June 2023 Throughout this fascinating history, Abrams locates a deep tension between lofty rhetoric about humanism and uplift and implementation through a bureaucratic process of testing. David Perry, Washington Post, 27 Apr. 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 21 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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