hu·​man·​i·​tar·​i·​an | \ hyü-ˌma-nə-ˈter-ē-ən How to pronounce humanitarian (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from humanitarian

humanitarian adjective
humanitarianism \ hyü-​ˌma-​nə-​ˈter-​ē-​ə-​ˌni-​zəm How to pronounce humanitarianism (audio) , 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 The actress, activist and humanitarian talked to Vogue India about her work, motherhood and a bit about her 2016 breakup with Pitt. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "Angelina Jolie says she split from Brad Pitt for the sake of their kids," 22 June 2020 The same can be said of Clemente, the Pirates’ star and humanitarian who died in a plane crash in the winter of 1972-73 while en route to help earthquake victims in Nicaragua. John Lowe, Detroit Free Press, "Al Kaline, Detroit Tigers legend, dies at age 85," 6 Apr. 2020 The plot gets muddled with so many intertwining story threads, but Moura is magnetic as a fascinating humanitarian completely devoted to helping people, sometimes to his own sacrifice. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "What to stream this weekend: Amazon's teen dream 'Selah and the Spades,' Netflix's 'Sergio' and more," 17 Apr. 2020 But her focus soon shifted to presenting herself as a passionate humanitarian. NBC News, "How did Mina Chang get a State Department job in the first place?," 27 Nov. 2019 Our leadership in the #coronavirus response is another example of how America continues to be the world’s greatest humanitarians. NBC News, "Morning roundup of coronavirus coverage," 28 Mar. 2020 Because her long and storied career in politics, as a humanitarian, and as an educator on national platforms. Elly Belle,, "Jane O’Meara, Bernie Sanders’ Wife, Has Been Advocating By His Side For 32 Years," 28 Feb. 2020 After five years of wrestling, the humanitarians have been routed. The Economist, "Charlemagne Europe hopes brutality at the border will keep refugees away," 12 Mar. 2020 But Catholic progressives and humanitarians have historicized the faith. Daniel J. Mahoney, National Review, "Pope Francis, Wayward Shepherd," 6 Feb. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of humanitarian

1843, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about humanitarian

Time Traveler for humanitarian

Time Traveler

The first known use of humanitarian was in 1843

See more words from the same year

Statistics for humanitarian

Last Updated

26 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Humanitarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for humanitarian


How to pronounce humanitarian (audio)

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 How to pronounce humanitarian (audio) , 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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on humanitarian

What made you want to look up humanitarian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!