an·​thro·​po·​mor·​phism ˌan(t)-thrə-pə-ˈmȯr-ˌfi-zəm How to pronounce anthropomorphism (audio)
: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics : humanization
Children's stories have a long tradition of anthropomorphism.
anthropomorphist noun

Examples of anthropomorphism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The anthropomorphism on display is anything but cutesy. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 29 May 2024 Giving key wildlife individual names isn't about anthropomorphism, McSpadden said, but creating connections between humans and the wild. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, 9 May 2024 To an extent, anthropomorphism can also improve human-AS interaction, since people often trust agents endowed with more humanlike features…[but] anthropomorphism can also induce overtrust. IEEE Spectrum, 27 Apr. 2024 For decades, scientists hesitated to study animal emotions lest they be accused of anthropomorphism. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 26 Jan. 2024 Not everyone is happy about the anthropomorphism and potential hype language involved. Benj Edwards, Ars Technica, 25 Sep. 2023 Scientists who claim that animals share human qualities like empathy are often condemned for anthropomorphism—the sin of awarding human characteristics to things that are not human. WIRED, 7 Oct. 2023 People project anthropomorphism or project that personality onto them, but that’s not really there, right, in a strong way. IEEE Spectrum, 2 Oct. 2023 Unlike anthropomorphism – projecting human characteristics onto a machine – this feeling is born from a sense of care for the machine. Janet Vertesi, Fortune, 24 Sep. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anthropomorphism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Greek anthrōpómorphos "having human form" + -ism — more at anthropomorphic

First Known Use

1650, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of anthropomorphism was in 1650

Dictionary Entries Near anthropomorphism

Cite this Entry

“Anthropomorphism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jun. 2024.

Medical Definition


an·​thro·​po·​mor·​phism ˌan(t)-thrə-pə-ˈmȯr-ˌfiz-əm How to pronounce anthropomorphism (audio)
: an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics compare theriomorphism
anthropomorphic adjective
anthropomorphically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on anthropomorphism

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