late 14c., from O.Fr. humanité, from L. humanitatem (nom. humanitas) "human nature, humanity," from humanus (see human). Originally in English "kindness, graciousness;" sense of "human race" first recorded mid-15c. Humanities (L. literæ humaniores) were those
branches of literature (ancient classics, rhetoric, poetry) which tended to humanize or refine. Humanitarian (1819) originally was "one who affirms the humanity of Christ (but denies His divinity);" first used 1844 in modern sense of "one who advocates or practices human action;" usually disparaging at first, with a suggestion of excess.