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humanism

[hyoo-muh-niz-uh m or, often, yoo-]
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noun
  1. any system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
  2. devotion to or study of the humanities.
  3. (sometimes initial capital letter) the studies, principles, or culture of the humanists.
  4. Philosophy. a variety of ethical theory and practice that emphasizes reason, scientific inquiry, and human fulfillment in the natural world and often rejects the importance of belief in God.
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Origin of humanism

First recorded in 1805–15; human + -ism
Related formsan·ti·hu·man·ism, nounsem·i·hu·man·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for humanism

humanism

noun
  1. the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favour of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts
  2. a philosophical position that stresses the autonomy of human reason in contradistinction to the authority of the Church
  3. (often capital) a cultural movement of the Renaissance, based on classical studies
  4. interest in the welfare of people
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Derived Formshumanist, nounhumanistic, adjective
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

Word Origin and History for humanism

n.

along with humanist used in a variety of philosophical and theological senses 16c.-18c., especially ones imitating Latin humanitas "education befitting a cultivated man." See human + -ism. Main modern sense in reference to revival of interest in the Classics traces to c.1860; as a pragmatic system of thought, defined 1907 by co-founder F.C.S. Schiller as: "The perception that the philosophical problem concerns human beings striving to comprehend a world of human experience by the resources of human minds."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper