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[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 humanely
  • If population is not reduced humanely, it will be reduced inhumanely.
  • In addition, any squid killed for stomach or statolith is done quickly and as humanely as possible.
  • Everyone is encouraged to relay as much as possible about the event to the online audiences in as real-time as humanely possible.
  • The act requires research facilities to care for the animals humanely.
  • In the end, listening to students and responding humanely to their issues doesn't mean that you have to be a pushover.
  • There is no way of knowing if the news was delivered humanely, or not.
  • And she noted that for her family, treating the cows humanely was critically important.
  • There are a few different ways to humanely deter and repel pests.
  • Do it humanely, make sure they have a good home, and you have fulfilled your responsibility to them.
  • Academia could make this so much easier on the displaced if the situation were handled humanely and with support.
British Dictionary definitions for humanely


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 humanely

1590s, from humane + -ly (2).



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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