Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Humans considered as a group; the human race.
  • n. The condition or quality of being human.
  • n. The quality of being humane; benevolence.
  • n. A humane characteristic, attribute, or act.
  • n. The languages and literatures of ancient Greece and Rome; the classics.
  • n. Those branches of knowledge, such as philosophy, literature, and art, that are concerned with human thought and culture; the liberal arts.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Mankind; human beings as a group.
  • n. The human condition or nature.
  • n. The quality of being benevolent.
  • n. Humane traits of character; humane qualities or aspects.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality of being human; the peculiar nature of man, by which he is distinguished from other beings.
  • n. Mankind collectively; the human race.
  • n. The quality of being humane; the kind feelings, dispositions, and sympathies of man; especially, a disposition to relieve persons or animals in distress, and to treat all creatures with kindness and tenderness.
  • n. Mental cultivation; liberal education; instruction in classical and polite literature.
  • n. The branches of polite or elegant learning; as language, rhetoric, poetry, and the ancient classics; belles-letters.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The condition or quality of being human; human character or nature.
  • n. Mankind collectively; the human race.
  • n. The character of being humane; consideration for the sensibilities of others, and sympathy with their needs or suffering; kindness; benevolence; a disposition to relieve distress, whether of men or of animals, and to treat all creatures kindly.
  • n. Politeness; civility.
  • n. Learning or literature of a merely human or secular kind: opposed to divinity: generally in the plural, with reference to the several branches of such literature, as philology, grammar, rhetoric, poetry, the study of the ancient classics, and the like. In Scotland, in the singular, applied to Latin and Latin literature alone: as, a professor of humanity.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the quality of being human
  • n. the quality of being humane
  • n. all of the living human inhabitants of the earth

Etymologies

Middle English humanite, from Old French, from Latin hūmānitās, from hūmānus, human; see human.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English humanitye, from Old French humanité, from Latin humanitas ("human nature, humanity, also humane conduct"), from humanus ("human, humane"); see human, humane. The interjection was first used ("Oh, the humanity!") by Herbert Morrison reporting on the Hindenburg disaster. (Wiktionary)

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