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[hyoo-man-i-tee or, often, yoo-] /hyuˈmæn ɪ ti or, often, yu-/
noun, plural humanities.
all human beings collectively; the human race; humankind.
the quality or condition of being human; human nature.
the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence.
the humanities.
  1. the study of classical languages and classical literature.
  2. the Latin and Greek classics as a field of study.
  3. literature, philosophy, art, etc., as distinguished from the natural sciences.
  4. the study of literature, philosophy, art, etc.
Origin of humanity
1350-1400; Middle English humanite < Latin hūmānitās. See human, -ity
Related forms
antihumanity, noun, plural antihumanities.
overhumanity, noun
3. sympathy, tenderness, goodwill.
3. inhumanity, unkindness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for humanities
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A word, however, for the humanities before we speak of their abiding-place.

    The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Charles James Lever
  • West asks for a wider recognition of the humanities after the war.

    The Psychology of Nations G.E. Partridge
  • We hear a certain group of studies called the humanities, and it is right.

    The Story of the Mind James Mark Baldwin
  • But the best school in the humanities for every man is in his own house.

    The Story of the Mind James Mark Baldwin
  • They have affected the mores of the class educated in the "humanities" since the Renaissance.


    William Graham Sumner
British Dictionary definitions for humanities


noun (pl) -ties
the human race
the quality of being human
kindness or mercy
(pl) the humanities, the study of literature, philosophy, and the arts
the study of Ancient Greek and Roman language, literature, etc
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 humanities

1702; plural of humanity, which was used in English from late 15c. in a sense "class of studies concerned with human culture" (opposed variously at different times to divinity or sciences). Latin literae humaniores, they were those branches of literature (ancient classics, rhetoric, poetry) which tended to humanize or refine.



late 14c., "kindness, graciousness," from Old French humanité, umanité "human nature; humankind, life on earth; pity," from Latin humanitatem (nominative humanitas) "human nature; philanthropy, kindness; good breeding, refinement; the human race, mankind," from humanus (see human). Sense of "human nature, human form" is c.1400; that of "human race" first recorded mid-15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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humanities in Culture

humanities definition

One of the main branches of learning. A scholar of the humanities studies history, literature, the fine arts, and philosophy.

The 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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