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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for humanistic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Dante prepared the way for the humanistic movement and was therefore an important factor in this great revival.

    History of Education Levi Seeley
  • Yes; she has arranged with Cerini to work with him upon his humanistic Studies.

    The Spell William Dana Orcutt
  • It was inevitable too that the humanistic spirit should control the writing of history.

  • humanistic writing is full of the exulting sense of this emancipation.

    Preaching and Paganism Albert Parker Fitch
  • You see how naturally one comes to the humanistic principle: you can't weed out the human contribution.

    Pragmatism William James
  • Hence the pride which is an essential quality of the humanistic attitude.

    Preaching and Paganism Albert Parker Fitch
Word Origin and History for humanistic

1845 (humanistical is from 1716), in reference to Renaissance or classical humanism; from humanist + -ic. From 1904 in reference to a modern philosophy that concerns itself with the interests of the human race.



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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humanistic 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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