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 The scenes between Dom and her friends — played by standouts Crystal Sha're Nelson, Brittany Adebumola, and Naiya Ortiz — brim with humanity and love. Kristen Baldwin,, "Netflix's teen drama Grand Army is grim to a fault: Review," 7 Oct. 2020 One of the things archaeology consistently teaches us is that humanity is remarkably resilient in the face of crisis. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists delved into medieval cesspits to study old gut microbiomes," 6 Oct. 2020 Its most visible manifestation was the guards, the macho men in dark green uniforms who lorded over Al Rashad without compassion or humanity. New York Times, "They Came for My Father Nearly 30 Years Ago. It Still Haunts Me.," 6 Oct. 2020 The most recent attack has come from social media, which have turned the Internet into one great seething cauldron of opinions, most of them anonymous, in which every kind of malice and fantasy swamps the still small voice of humanity and truth. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Dezinformatsiya," 5 Oct. 2020 The research, published in Science, found that humanity is on track to put 53 million megatons (the equivalent 53 trillion tons) into the world's waterways, even if severe measures are taken to reduce the plastic waste currently being produced. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "53 trillion tons of plastic in Earth's waterways by 2030, researchers warn," 20 Sep. 2020 Of all the errors in judgment that humanity is prone to, overconfidence may be the most damaging. Walter Frick, Quartz at Work, "Use this tool to overcome the biggest decision-making mistake," 6 Sep. 2020 Before being a political person with convictions, humanity has always been my objective. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Leader of U.S. vaccine push says he‘ll quit if politics trumps science," 3 Sep. 2020 His humanity was enormous, and fully alive to itself. James Parker, The Atlantic, "The New David Copperfield Movie Might Be Better Than the Book," 9 Aug. 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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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

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Humanity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 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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