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[hyoo-muh-niz-uh m or, often, yoo-] /ˈhyu məˌnɪz əm or, often, ˈyu-/
any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
devotion to or study of the humanities.
(sometimes initial capital letter) the studies, principles, or culture of the humanists.
Philosophy. a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.
Origin of humanism
1805-15; human + -ism
Related forms
antihumanism, noun
semihumanism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for humanism
  • Yes, I've heard of humanism, or secular humanism as it is often called.
  • As controversial as he is renowned, the British biologist has been a leading exponent of evolutionary humanism.
  • It's the basic humanism of the everyman.
  • The revival of humanism in modern fiction is not confined to any one country.
  • Your stubborn humanism is still a boon to this planet, and its people.
  • The text makes poignant reading, as two paradigms of scientific humanism clash in the night.
  • We try to look for the technological sophistication of traditional humanism and the humanist possibilities of new tech.
  • Needless to say, the kids respond to him with forbearance for his oddities and affection for his merry humanism.
  • humanism stresses the salience of students making choices from among alternatives.
  • With humanism, the student becomes more open about the self in an atmosphere of trust and responsibility.
British Dictionary definitions for humanism


the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favour of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts
a philosophical position that stresses the autonomy of human reason in contradistinction to the authority of the Church
(often capital) a cultural movement of the Renaissance, based on classical studies
interest in the welfare of people
Derived Forms
humanist, noun
humanistic, adjective
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 humanism

along with humanist used in a variety of philosophical and theological senses 16c.-18c., especially ones imitating Latin humanitas "education befitting a cultivated man." See human + -ism. Main modern sense in reference to revival of interest in the Classics traces to c.1860; as a pragmatic system of thought, defined 1907 by co-founder F.C.S. Schiller as: "The perception that the philosophical problem concerns human beings striving to comprehend a world of human experience by the resources of human minds."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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