misanthrope

noun
mis·an·thrope | \ˈmi-sᵊn-ˌthrōp \

Definition of misanthrope 

: a person who hates or distrusts humankind

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Synonyms for misanthrope

Synonyms

cynic, naysayer, pessimist

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Did You Know?

The word misanthrope is human to the core—literally. One of its parents is the Greek noun anthrōpos, meaning "human being." Its other parent is the Greek verb misein, meaning "to hate." Misein also gave English misogamy ("a hatred of marriage"), misogyny ("hatred of women"), misology ("a hatred of argument, reasoning, or enlightenment"), and misoneism ("a hatred, fear, or intolerance of innovation or change"). Anthrōpos also joined forces with phil- (a combining form meaning "loving") to form the Greek ancestor of philanthropy ("active effort to help other people"). We also find anthrōpos when we delve into the foundations of the word anthropology.

Misanthropes and Other Haters

Misanthrope comes from the Greek misanthrōpos “hating humankind” and was very likely popularized by the French playwright Moliere's Le Misanthrope, which depicts a bitter critic of society who chooses exile over contact with other people. In English, misanthrope (or its anglicized equivalent, misanthropist) has been applied to many a perceived antisocial crank, from satirist Jonathan Swift to philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to Charles Dicken’s character Ebenezer Scrooge. It is one of several English words beginning with mis- (from Greek misein "to hate") naming persons who despise something or someone. The most familiar example nowadays is misogynist, used of a person who hates women. Two lesser-known variations on the theme are misandrist “one who hates men” and misopedist “a person who hates children.”

Examples of misanthrope in a Sentence

Many members of the contemporary movie audience, only marginally socialized, would have made a misanthrope of Gandhi; they undermine every argument for intelligent design in the universe. — James Morris, Wilson Quarterly, Autumn 2005 It is perhaps not the healthiest tendency for a man who is already if not a hermit at least a part-time misanthrope. — Edmund White, Vanity Fair, September 1996 Rather she is the genuine article, a misanthrope so pure she can't understand "why solitary confinement is considered punishment." — Lewis Burke Frumkes, New York Times Book Review, 10 May 1992 The young people thought him a gloomy misanthrope, because he never joined in their sports—the old men thought still more hardly of him, because he followed no trade,  … — Washington Irving, Salmagundi, November 24, 1807, in History, Tales, and Sketches1977 a former misanthrope who now professes a newly discovered love of mankind
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Recent Examples on the Web

The decision to end the beloved sitcom about a group of New York misanthropes by putting them in jail for being bad Samaritans is now 20 years old, but age hasn't helped it. 3. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "The 10 best (and five worst) TV series finales of all time," 31 May 2018 Maybe that seems like a hot take from a grouchy, antisocial misanthrope (still not wrong). Clay Skipper, GQ, "Why the Ideal Super Bowl Party Is a Party of One," 1 Feb. 2018 In a vicious about-face, the internet citizens -- who, just days prior, stood sentry between a weeping 11-year-old and five middle-school misanthropes -- turned on him. Eliott C. Mclaughlin, CNN, "How Keaton Jones' bullying plea brought him more bullying," 12 Dec. 2017 Wilson, a middle-aged misanthrope, is based on a character created by Daniel Clowes in his graphic novel of the same name. Michael O'sullivan, The Denver Post, "“Wilson” fails to humanize its cartoonish title character," 24 Mar. 2017 Wilson, a middle-aged misanthrope, is based on a character created by Daniel Clowes in his graphic novel of the same name. Michael O'sullivan, The Denver Post, "“Wilson” fails to humanize its cartoonish title character," 24 Mar. 2017 Wilson, a middle-aged misanthrope, is based on a character created by Daniel Clowes in his graphic novel of the same name. Michael O'sullivan, The Denver Post, "“Wilson” fails to humanize its cartoonish title character," 24 Mar. 2017 The laugh-out-loud factor, not to mention Dern’s presence, begins to decrease, and Wilson’s ultimate change from a misanthrope to a happy human being doesn’t ring completely true. David Lewis, Orange County Register, "‘Wilson’ has plenty of laughs, but not emotional heft," 23 Mar. 2017 Wilson has been described as a misanthrope, but that’s not quite right. Chris Hewitt, Twin Cities, "Review: ‘Wilson’ is great. Except for Wilson.," 23 Mar. 2017

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

1683, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for misanthrope

Greek misanthrōpos hating humankind, from misein to hate + anthrōpos human being

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Time Traveler for misanthrope

The first known use of misanthrope was in 1683

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More Definitions for misanthrope

misanthrope

noun

English Language Learners Definition of misanthrope

: a person who does not like other people

misanthrope

noun
mis·an·thrope | \ˈmis-ᵊn-ˌthrōp \

Medical Definition of misanthrope 

: a person who hates or distrusts humankind

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