9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[hyoo-meyn or, often, yoo-] /hyuˈmeɪn or, often, yu-/
characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed:
humane treatment of prisoners.
acting in a manner that causes the least harm to people or animals:
humane trapping of stray pets.
of or relating to humanistic studies.
Origin of humane
orig. stress variant of human, restricted to above senses from 18th century; cf. germane, german
Related forms
humanely, adverb
humaneness, noun
unhumane, adjective
unhumanely, adverb
unhumaneness, noun
Can be confused
human, humane (see synonym study at human)
1. merciful, kind, kindly, kindhearted, tender, compassionate, gentle, sympathetic; benevolent, benignant, charitable. See human.
1. brutal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for humane
  • This is a beautiful and profound picture that touches us on a humane, emotional and spiritual level.
  • This is an invigorating and surprisingly helpful text for those who want a humane but profitable way to manage their company.
  • This wise and humane book brims with practical suggestions for parents, teachers and mental health professionals.
  • Anyone in business or industry will find this book a trove of sensible, and humane, advice.
  • Anything that diminishes the value of a single human being poses a threat to a rational, humane society.
  • The logical answer, in this case, is the humane one.
  • He presents a moderate and humane vision, advising increased federal spending on education, the arts and health care.
  • Ted was, for me, the wisest and most humane of the education reformers of my generation.
  • I'd spent the last 3 years telling everyone who would listen about how humane and wonderful my school's tenure guidelines are.
  • His loves are many and varied, and each offers him a sort of deeply humane salvation against his increasingly inhumane fate.
British Dictionary definitions for humane


characterized by kindness, mercy, sympathy, etc
inflicting as little pain as possible: a humane killing
civilizing or liberal (esp in the phrases humane studies, humane education)
Derived Forms
humanely, adverb
humaneness, noun
Word Origin
C16: variant of human
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for humane

mid-15c., variant of human (cf. german/germane, urban/urbane), used interchangeably with it until early 18c., by which time it had become a distinct word with sense of "having qualities befitting human beings." But inhuman still can be the opposite of humane. The Royal Humane Society (founded 1774) was originally to rescue drowning persons. Such societies had turned to animal care by late 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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