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

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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 But the proportion dying has risen each year, and so have the number of humanitarians targeted. Jasmine Aguilera/ajo, Time, "They Tried to Save the Lives of Immigrants Fleeing Danger. Now They’re Facing Prosecution," 11 Nov. 2019 Bout’s trafficking rings ran circles around investigators, humanitarians—anyone trying to stem the tide of illicit arms drenching global pockets of instability. Casey Michel, The New Republic, "How to Stop Kleptocrats From Stashing Their Cash in America," 18 Sep. 2019 Herbert Hoover: Best known as the goat of the Great Depression, this president was actually the GOAT of humanitarians who led America's effort to save starving populations in post-World War I Europe. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Mo Rocca wants better obituaries for these dead celebrities," 6 Dec. 2019 And then the rest of us are activists, lawyers, humanitarians, some forensic scientists. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "These Three Women Are Redefining What It Means to Be a Leader," 20 Nov. 2019 There’s still time to nominate a local humanitarian for the 2019 Sylvia Canon Humanitarian Award, the annual honor bestowed by the Carroll County Community Services Council. Jon Kelvey,, "Deadline looms to nominate candidates for Sylvia Canon Humanitarian Award," 16 Oct. 2019 Liberals were humanitarians; conservatives were rationalists. New York Times, "In Today’s World, Is It Possible to Be an Idealist?," 18 Oct. 2019 There's some people that are like natural humanitarians. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Cardi B on Feeling Like Lizzie McGuire, Taking Risks in Fashion, and What She and Bernie Sanders Have in Common," 10 Oct. 2019 During her surprise meet-up, the humanitarian handed out VIP passes to the promising kids. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "Selena Gomez & the Playground Scene: Her 8 Cutest Moments With Kids," 13 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for humanitarian

Time Traveler

The first known use of humanitarian was in 1843

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Statistics for humanitarian

Last Updated

28 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Humanitarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

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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

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