Homo habilis

[ hoh-moh hab-uh-luh s ]
/ ˈhoʊ moʊ ˈhæb ə ləs /


an extinct species of upright East African hominid having some advanced humanlike characteristics, dated as being from about 1.5 million to more than 2 million years old and proposed as an early form of Homo leading to modern humans.
a fossil belonging to this species.



Take this quiz to see if you really know the difference between “compliment” and “complement"!
Question 1 of 11
“Compliment” and “complement” had a shared meaning a long time ago, but today they are no longer interchangeable.

Origin of Homo habilis

1965–70; < New Latin: adaptable man
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for homo habilis

Homo habilis
/ (ˈhæbɪlɪs) /


an extinct species of primitive man, the first to use stone tools

Word Origin for Homo habilis

New Latin, from Latin homo man + habilis able to handle, skilled
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

Scientific definitions for homo habilis

Homo habilis
[ hăbə-ləs ]

An extinct species of early humans, known from fossils found in eastern Africa and often considered to be the first member of the genus Homo. It is associated with stone tools of the Oldowan culture. Homo habilis existed between about 2.5 and 1.6 million years ago and overlapped with late australopithecines and other hominids whose relationship to each other and to the later Homo erectus are uncertain.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.