[ hyoo-man-i-tair-ee-uhn or, often, yoo- ]
See synonyms for humanitarian on
  1. having concern for or helping to improve the welfare and happiness of people.

  2. of or relating to ethical or theological humanitarianism.

  1. pertaining to the saving of human lives or to the alleviation of suffering: a humanitarian crisis.

  1. a person actively engaged in promoting human welfare and social reforms, as a philanthropist.

  2. a person who professes ethical or theological humanitarianism.

Origin of humanitarian

First recorded in 1810–20; humanit(y) + -arian

Other words from humanitarian

  • an·ti·hu·man·i·tar·i·an, adjective, noun
  • sem·i·hu·man·i·tar·i·an, adjective, noun
  • un·hu·man·i·tar·i·an, adjective

Words Nearby humanitarian Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use humanitarian in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for humanitarian


/ (hjuːˌmænɪˈtɛərɪən) /

  1. having the interests of mankind at heart

  2. of or relating to ethical or theological humanitarianism

  1. a philanthropist

  2. an adherent of humanitarianism

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