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

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 In the story, set on Christmas Eve, an angel heads to Earth to help restore humanity. Gary Dinges, USA TODAY, "'No one will have a bad seat': Trans-Siberian Orchestra goes virtual for 2020 holiday show," 22 Oct. 2020 The cast has to exude humanity through fake quotes, Zoom readings and some antiquated prose styles. Christopher Arnott,, "Review: ‘Russian Troll Farm’ at TheaterWorks a groundbreaking, high-tech portrayal of recurring election nightmare of 2016," 22 Oct. 2020 One or more of these vaccines are the best hope for rescuing humanity from the nearly year-long pandemic that's infected more than 40 million people globally and killed more than 1.1 million of them. Maggie Fox, CNN, "FDA extends Covid-19 vaccine meeting to allow public input," 21 Oct. 2020 Climate change is among the most urgent problems facing humanity; businesses and governments have an imperative to act. Daniel Pinto, Fortune, "How one of the world’s biggest banks plans to tackle climate change," 16 Oct. 2020 And yet the idea of uniting in a declaration of African American pain, power and humanity caught fire, spreading from churches to Black businesses to union halls. USA Today, "25 years ago, Black men united in their pain – and power. This is what the Million Man March meant to participants.," 15 Oct. 2020 If the formulas, processes and sequences that guide and undergird minimalist compositions often translate as icy or empty, Gibson’s presence as a player in his music bestows it with a sensual, often scruffy humanity. Washington Post, "The late composer Jon Gibson helped save minimalism from itself," 15 Oct. 2020 My favorites are the episodes about the lake house on a private island in Lake Erie, which is off the grid but also has the biggest sectional couch humanity has ever created. Margaret Lyons, New York Times, "What’s Next for a ‘Battlestar Galactica’ Fan?," 13 Oct. 2020 That’s a new world for Rick & Co., but it’s also one that heralds the end of the crisis, with humanity over the survival hump. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Still plenty of good TV out there: Captain Comics," 9 Oct. 2020

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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Statistics for humanity

Last Updated

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Humanity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for humanity


How to pronounce humanity (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of humanity

: the quality or state of being human
: the quality or state of being kind to other people or to animals
: all people


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

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