, humayn(e), Middle English
< Middle French humain
< Latin hūmānus,
akin to homō
human being (cf. Homo
); spelling human
predominant from early 18th cent.
humanlike, adjectivehumanness, nounhalf-human, adjectiveinterhuman, adjectiveoverhuman, adjectivepseudohuman, adjectivequasi-human, adjectivequasi-humanly, adverbtranshuman, adjectiveultrahuman, adjectiveunhuman, adjectiveunhumanly, adverbunhumanness, noun
Can be confused
(see synonym study at the current entry)
1. Human, humane
may refer to that which is, or should be, characteristic of human beings. In thus describing characteristics, human
may refer to good and bad traits of a person alike (human kindness; human weakness
). When emphasis is placed upon the latter, human
is thought of as contrasted to divine: To err is human, to forgive divine. He was only human. Humane
(the original spelling of human,
and since 1700 restricted in meaning) takes into account only the nobler or gentler aspects of people and is often contrasted to their more ignoble or brutish aspect. A humane
person is benevolent in treating fellow humans or helpless animals; the word once had also connotations of courtesy and refinement (hence, the application of humane
to those branches of learning intended to refine the mind).
Pronunciations of words like human, huge,
etc., with the initial [h] /h/ Show IPA
deleted: [yoo-muh n] /ˈyu mən/ [yooj] /yudʒ/ while sometimes criticized, are heard from speakers at all social and educational levels, including professors, lawyers, and other public speakers.