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mid-15c., humain, humaigne, from Old French humain, umain (adj.) "of or belonging to man" (12c.), from Latin humanus "of man, human," also "humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined, civilized," probably related to homo (genitive hominis) "man" (see homunculus) and to humus "earth," on notion of "earthly beings," as opposed to the gods (cf. Hebrew adam "man," from adamah "ground"). Cognate with Old Lithuanian zmuo (accusative zmuni) "man, male person."
As a noun, from 1530s. Its Old English cognate guma (from Proto-Germanic *guman-) survives only in disguise in bridegroom. Related: Humanness. Human rights attested by 1680s; human being by 1690s. Human relations is from 1916; human resources attested by 1907, American English, apparently originally among social Christians and drawn from natural resources.