[hyoo-man-i-tee or, often, yoo-]

noun, plural hu·man·i·ties.

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 formsan·ti·hu·man·i·ty, noun, plural an·ti·hu·man·i·ties.o·ver·hu·man·i·ty, noun

Synonyms for humanity

Antonyms for humanity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for humanities

philosophy, arts, letters, belles-lettres

Examples from the Web for humanities

Contemporary Examples of humanities

Historical Examples of humanities

  • A word, however, for the humanities before we speak of their abiding-place.

  • West asks for a wider recognition of the humanities after the war.

  • 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 plural -ties

the human race
the quality of being human
kindness or mercy
the humanities (plural) 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

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

humanities in Culture


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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.