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

But a side effect of the show’s state of ennui is that its most compelling element—a willingness to explore the strange humanity of its characters’ kinks and impulses—has been left behind. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "How The Deuce Sidelined Desire," 11 Sep. 2019 Much of the movie, too, is an ode to New York, and the humanity that lives inside what seems to be at times a cold, callous, careless city. David Canfield,, "Jeffrey Wright on finding the soul of Hobie (and New York) in The Goldfinch," 11 Sep. 2019 Judges questioned the humanity of the three-drug protocols that make up what is called lethal injection. Peter Slevin, The New Yorker, "Witnessing a Federal Execution," 4 Sep. 2019 These include the physical and social sciences, nursing research, public and community health, nursing management, and the humanities. Valerie Sweeten, Houston Chronicle, "BSN degree can result in more hirability, increased pay," 23 Aug. 2019 Neither study made predictions about what would happen to humanity if and when a major nuclear war broke out. Fox News, "'Nuclear winter' coming? Nuclear war between US and Russia would cause catastrophic event, study confirms," 21 Aug. 2019 Out of sight and out of mind, some of the oldest sites were lost to humanity for centuries before being rediscovered by accident. Meghan Miner Murray, National Geographic, "9 of Europe’s underground marvels," 2 Aug. 2019 During that tragic experiment Sigma sustained serious psychological damage, deemed a threat to humanity, and locked away for years in a secret government facility. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Overwatch’s next hero is Sigma, a scientist who controls gravity," 23 July 2019 Because everyone in the country knows my commitment to the humanity and the health. Mike Stobbe, The Denver Post, "Dikembe Mutombo records Ebola messages for U.S. officials," 24 June 2019

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

Statistics for humanity

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for humanity

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

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More Definitions for humanity



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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More from Merriam-Webster on humanity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with humanity

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for humanity

Spanish Central: Translation of humanity

Nglish: Translation of humanity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of humanity for Arabic Speakers

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