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90s Slang You Should Know


[hyoo-meyn or, often, yoo-] /hyuˈmeɪn or, often, yu-/
characterized by tenderness, compassion, and sympathy for people and animals, especially for the suffering or distressed:
humane treatment of prisoners.
acting in a manner that causes the least harm to people or animals:
humane trapping of stray pets.
of or relating to humanistic studies.
Origin of humane
orig. stress variant of human, restricted to above senses from 18th century; cf. germane, german
Related forms
humanely, adverb
humaneness, noun
unhumane, adjective
unhumanely, adverb
unhumaneness, noun
Can be confused
human, humane (see synonym study at human)
1. merciful, kind, kindly, kindhearted, tender, compassionate, gentle, sympathetic; benevolent, benignant, charitable. See human.
1. brutal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for humanely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Academically, he intended to be wise in Egyptology; humanely, simply one of the guards.

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • Augustus treated them humanely and left them to govern themselves though procurators were sent among them to collect tribute.

    The Spell of Switzerland Nathan Haskell Dole
  • Her friend took care that they disposed of them humanely, keeping only one.

    Daisy Miranda Eliot Swan
  • Bedlam seems, however, to have always been as well and as humanely conducted as the spirit of the times demanded.

    The Popes and Science James J. Walsh
  • They bound him hand and foot, but soon after humanely set him at liberty.

  • He said we had not sent another man to France who could write as humanely and as interestingly as you did.

    Her Father's Daughter Gene Stratton-Porter
  • Sir Ralph comes from the inner room and hastens between them, humanely concerned, but professionally elate and communicative.

    The Doctor's Dilemma George Bernard Shaw
  • Whittingham hastened to loosen his shirt-collar, and the policeman present humanely procured a glass of water.

    The Mysteries of London, v. 1/4 George W. M. Reynolds
British Dictionary definitions for humanely


characterized by kindness, mercy, sympathy, etc
inflicting as little pain as possible: a humane killing
civilizing or liberal (esp in the phrases humane studies, humane education)
Derived Forms
humanely, adverb
humaneness, noun
Word Origin
C16: variant of human
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 humanely

1590s, from humane + -ly (2).



mid-15c., variant of human (cf. german/germane, urban/urbane), used interchangeably with it until early 18c., by which time it had become a distinct word with sense of "having qualities befitting human beings." But inhuman still can be the opposite of humane. The Royal Humane Society (founded 1774) was originally to rescue drowning persons. Such societies had turned to animal care by late 19c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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