hu·​man·​i·​tar·​i·​an | \ hyü-ˌma-nə-ˈter-ē-ən, yü-\

Definition of humanitarian

: a person promoting human welfare and social reform : philanthropist recognized as a great humanitarian for her work to end world hunger

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Other Words from humanitarian

humanitarian adjective
humanitarianism \ hyü-​ˌma-​nə-​ˈter-​ē-​ə-​ˌni-​zəm , yü-​ \ noun

Examples of humanitarian in a Sentence

She has been recognized as a great humanitarian for her efforts to end world hunger.

Recent Examples on the Web

NBA Hall of Famer and one-time Sixers center Dikembe Mutombo, who has been among the most active humanitarians in the sporting world during and after his 18-year career, will received this year’s Sager Strong Award, the league announced Tuesday. Rob Tornoe,, "Former Sixers center Dikembe Mutombo to receive Sager Strong Award," 22 May 2018 The former Suits star and humanitarian apparently flew to Canada on a commercial airplane, no less, in mid-August to visit her best friend and current stylist, Jessica Mulroney. Marissa G. Muller, Glamour, "Meghan Markle Casually Flew to Canada for a Girls Weekend, and No One Knew About It," 31 Aug. 2018 Because saving the world isn’t cheap, a small but savvy group of Central Floridians is training visionaries and humanitarians on a subject that’s sometimes foreign to them. Kate Santich,, "Push to make Orlando a hub for social enterprise gets boost with first class of entrepreneurs," 1 May 2018 But the unfolding humanitarian and political crisis of the last two weeks is beginning to yield a rapid expansion of this vast, often secretive machinery. Mark Collette, Joshua Fechter And Bill Lambrecht, San Antonio Express-News, "Companies earn billions to shelter immigrant children," 29 June 2018 So did some Western humanitarians and democracy promoters. Thanassis Cambanis,, "Stop trying to fix everything," 16 Feb. 2018 The Marchesa Origo, to give Iris her proper honorific, acquired a reputation as a valiant humanitarian. Dan Hofstadter, WSJ, "‘A Chill in the Air’ Review: A Tuscan Idyll Before the War," 30 Aug. 2018 Actors, humanitarians, athletes and singers united on the red carpet for the MTV Movie & TV Awards on Saturday night at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Lil Yachty, Trevor Jackson, Finn Wolfhard & More Talk Balancing Music With Acting at MTV Movie & TV Awards," 18 June 2018 The document urges the Venezuelan government to hold free and fair elections and allow humanitarian. Washington Post, "US renews call for OAS to suspend Venezuela," 4 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'humanitarian.' 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 humanitarian

1843, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for humanitarian

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for humanitarian

The first known use of humanitarian was in 1843

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More Definitions for humanitarian



English Language Learners Definition of humanitarian

: a person who works to make other people's lives better


hu·​man·​i·​tar·​i·​an | \ hyü-ˌma-nə-ˈter-ē-ən, yü-\

Kids Definition of humanitarian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a person who works to improve the lives and living conditions of other people



Kids Definition of humanitarian (Entry 2 of 2)

: relating to or characteristic of people who work to improve the lives and living conditions of other people humanitarian efforts

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