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[hyoo-muh-nist or, often, yoo-] /ˈhyu mə nɪst or, often, ˈyu-/
a person having a strong interest in or concern for human welfare, values, and dignity.
a person devoted to or versed in the humanities.
a student of human nature or affairs.
a classical scholar.
(sometimes initial capital letter) any one of the scholars of the Renaissance who pursued and disseminated the study and understanding of the cultures of ancient Rome and Greece, and emphasized secular, individualistic, and critical thought.
(sometimes initial capital letter) a person who follows a form of scientific or philosophical humanism.
of or relating to human affairs, nature, welfare, or values.
(sometimes initial capital letter) of or relating to the humanities or classical scholarship, especially that of the Renaissance humanists.
of or relating to philosophical or scientific humanism.
Origin of humanist
1580-90; < Italian umanista. See human, -ist
Related forms
humanistic, adjective
humanistically, adverb
antihumanist, noun, adjective
antihumanistic, adjective
nonhumanist, noun
nonhumanistic, adjective
pseudohumanistic, adjective
quasi-humanistic, adjective
semihumanistic, adjective
unhumanistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for humanist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But the humanist regards them as men and women who have been wronged.

    God and my Neighbour Robert Blatchford
  • The humanist creed recognises all men as sparks of Divinity.

    The Sequel George A. Taylor
  • I am a humanist by profession—until now I believed myself a modern humanist.

    The Spell William Dana Orcutt
  • But the humanist nations, being non-militant, turned a deaf ear.

    The Sequel George A. Taylor
  • It was this that made him a humanist; this that placed him before his age.

Word Origin and History for humanist

1580s, "student of the classical humanities," from Middle French humaniste (16c.), formed on model of Italian umanista "student of human affairs or human nature," coined by Italian poet Lodovicio Ariosto (1474-1533), from Latin humanus "human" (see human; also cf. humanism). Philosophical sense is from 1903.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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humanist in Culture

humanist definition

In the Renaissance, a scholar who studied the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome; today, a scholar of the humanities. The term secular humanist is applied to someone who concentrates on human activities and possibilities, usually downplaying or denying the importance of God and a life after death.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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