Try Our Apps


Fall Head Over Heels...


[hyoo-muh n or, often, yoo‐] /ˈhyu mən or, often, ˈyu‐/
of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or having the nature of people:
human frailty.
consisting of people:
the human race.
of or relating to the social aspect of people:
human affairs.
sympathetic; humane:
a warmly human understanding.
Origin of human
1350-1400; earlier humain(e), humayn(e), Middle English < Middle French humain < Latin hūmānus, akin to homō human being (cf. Homo); spelling human predominant from early 18th cent.
Related forms
humanlike, adjective
humanness, noun
half-human, adjective
interhuman, adjective
overhuman, adjective
pseudohuman, adjective
quasi-human, adjective
quasi-humanly, adverb
transhuman, adjective
ultrahuman, adjective
unhuman, adjective
unhumanly, adverb
unhumanness, noun
Can be confused
human, humane (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonym Study
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).
Pronunciation note
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for unhuman
Historical Examples
  • At the sound of that at once unhuman and singularly confidential voice close beside him, George Lovegrove gave a guilty start.

    The Far Horizon Lucas Malet
  • As always, my human organism shrank from Its unhuman neighborhood.

    The Thing from the Lake Eleanor M. Ingram
  • It was a crumbling stump atop a rusty hill, unhuman and grotesque.

    Duel on Syrtis Poul William Anderson
  • Passion spoiled everything, and it was very ugly and unhuman.

    Mogens and Other Stories Jens Peter Jacobsen
  • Desire of mine and of the unhuman Thing, did we grasp at Eve or Lilith?

    The Thing from the Lake Eleanor M. Ingram
  • The word means an inhuman or unhuman man, a man who is not man.

    The Ego and His Own Max Stirner
  • The sandwich-man spasmodically opened and closed his mouth in the unhuman fashion of a ventriloquist's puppet.

    H. R. Edwin Lefevre
  • The electric shock of the young sun-beams and the unhuman beauty of the woods began to irk and daunt her.

    Prince Otto Robert Louis Stevenson
  • To all these human or unhuman aids some overburdened soul has felt free to say anything the audience might need to hear.

    Dramatic Technique George Pierce Baker
  • Nay, I tell you it is not God you speak of, but some heathen fancy, smoking up from your unhuman heart.

British Dictionary definitions for unhuman


of, characterizing, or relating to man and mankind: human nature
consisting of people: the human race, a human chain
having the attributes of man as opposed to animals, divine beings, or machines: human failings
  1. kind or considerate
  2. natural
a human being; person
prefix anthropo-
Derived Forms
human-like, adjective
humanness, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin hūmānus; related to Latin homō man
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for unhuman

1540s, "inhumane, cruel," from un- (1) "not" + human. Meaning "superhuman" is from 1782.



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
unhuman in Science
  1. A member of the species Homo sapiens; a human being.

  2. A member of any of the extinct species of the genus Homo, such as Homo erectus or Homo habilis, that are considered ancestral or closely related to modern humans.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with unhuman
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for human

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for unhuman

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for unhuman