hu·​man·​i·​ty | \ hyü-ˈma-nə-tē How to pronounce humanity (audio) , yü- \
plural humanities

Essential Meaning of humanity

1 : the quality or state of being human They were joined together by their (common) humanity.
2 : the quality or state of being kind to other people or to animals We appealed to his sense of humanity.
3 : all people : humankind These discoveries will be of benefit to all humanity. She was cut off from the rest of humanity.

Full Definition of humanity

1 : compassionate, sympathetic, or generous behavior or disposition : the quality or state of being humane bespeaking humanity for the enemy in the midst of a bloody struggle— C. G. Bowers
2a : the quality or state of being human joined together by their common humanity
b humanities plural : human attributes or qualities his work has the ripeness of the 18th century, and its rough humanities— Pamela H. Johnson
3 humanities plural : the branches of learning (such as philosophy, arts, or languages) that investigate human constructs (see construct entry 2 sense 1a) and concerns as opposed to natural processes (as in physics or chemistry) and social relations (as in anthropology or economics)
4 : the totality of human beings : the human race : humankind a fierce compassion for the woes of humanity— Maurice Bowra

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Examples of humanity in a Sentence

We appealed to his sense of humanity. These discoveries will be of benefit to all humanity. She was cut off from the rest of humanity. the college of arts and humanities He's taking courses in both the sciences and the humanities.
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Recent Examples on the Web Her stories capture the humanity of people, particularly the most vulnerable. Los Angeles Times, 11 Oct. 2021 Like Commodity City, Ascension homes in on the humanity that flourishes where the gears of capitalism churn. Lisa Wong Macabasco, Vogue, 8 Oct. 2021 Ducournau challenges viewers to find the humanity in a character who seems intent on rejecting her own, all while provoking as many laughs as gasps. David Sims, The Atlantic, 7 Oct. 2021 An America that recognizes the humanity within Mr. Floyd's life and legacy is one that possesses a quality of mercy so often denied to victims of police, state, and structural violence. Peniel E. Joseph, CNN, 6 Oct. 2021 The caricature of crime in Chicago tends to detach the humanity of those affected. Jeff Ihaza, Rolling Stone, 6 Oct. 2021 Of course, the iPhone delivers many more functions and capabilities and has had a worldwide impact on humanity. Tim Bajarin, Forbes, 5 Oct. 2021 Reginald Dwayne Betts, 40, of New Haven, Connecticut: Poet and lawyer promoting the humanity and rights of individuals who are or have been incarcerated. Grace Hauck, USA TODAY, 28 Sep. 2021 The undeniable and ever-more plainly visible humanity of the unborn child has since increased our sensitivity to these vulnerable persons’ moral claims on our compassion and respect. Grazie Pozo Christie, National Review, 21 Sep. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for humanity

see human entry 1

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Learn More About humanity

Time Traveler for humanity

Time Traveler

The first known use of humanity was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near humanity




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Statistics for humanity

Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Humanity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for humanity


hu·​man·​i·​ty | \ hyü-ˈma-nə-tē How to pronounce humanity (audio) , yü- \
plural humanities

Kids Definition of humanity

1 : the quality or state of being human Old enemies were joined by their common humanity in combating the disease.
2 : the human race These discoveries will benefit humanity.
3 humanities plural : studies (as literature, history, and art) concerned primarily with human culture
4 : kindness sense 1, sympathy … she … sent the Portugal captain a very handsome present for his humanity and charity to me.— Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe

More from Merriam-Webster on humanity

Nglish: Translation of humanity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of humanity for Arabic Speakers


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