Definitions

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

  • adj. Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion: a humane judge.
  • adj. Marked by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns: a humane education.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Having or showing concern for the pain or suffering of another; compassionate.
  • adj. Pertaining to branches of learning concerned with human affairs or the humanities, especially classical literature or rhetoric.
  • adj. Obsolete spelling of human.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Pertaining to man; human.
  • adj. Having the feelings and inclinations creditable to man; having a disposition to treat other human beings or animals with kindness; kind; benevolent.
  • adj. Humanizing; exalting; tending to refine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of or pertaining to man; human. See human, a.
  • Profane; secular. See human, a., 2.
  • Having the feelings and inclinations proper to man; having tenderness, compassion, and a disposition to treat other human beings and the lower animals with kindness; kind; benevolent.
  • Tending to humanize or refine: applied to the elegant or polite branches of literature, especially philology, rhetoric, poetry, and the study of the ancient classics. See humanity, 5.
  • Synonyms Humane, Merciful; tender, tender-hearted, kind-hearted, compassionate, sympathetic. Humane differs from the ordinary use of merciful in that it expresses active endeavors to find and relieve suffering, and especially to prevent it, while merciful expresses the disposition to spare one the suffering which might be inflicted. The good Samaritan was humane; Shylock should have been merciful; the Royal Humane Society; a merciful judge.

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

  • adj. marked or motivated by concern with the alleviation of suffering
  • adj. showing evidence of moral and intellectual advancement
  • adj. pertaining to or concerned with the humanities

Etymologies

Middle English humain, human; see human.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Variant form of human, now preserved in specialized senses. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Lyman focuses on the term humane meat, asking if killing can be humane and asserting that the only reason we eat meat is because we have an addiction to fat.

    AlterNet.org Main RSS Feed

  • On the campaign trail, latest GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich came under fire for using the word "humane" in a debate answer about illegal immigration and suggesting we should adopt a policy to avoid tearing apart families.

    Arianna Huffington: Sunday Roundup

  • Chances are, if you get into a conversation about the conditions in which animals are raised for food in the United States, you will hear the word "humane" sooner or later.

    Nil Zacharias: Humane Meat Is the Solution to What, Again?

  • In Phoenix, Arizona, throngs of protesters are demanding what they call humane immigration reform.

    CNN Transcript Mar 24, 2006

  • It took the hammer blows of post-war Europe, seeing the tragedy up close and vividly that transformed me from a Utopian passivist to what I call a humane realist.

    The Irony of Virtue: Ethics and American Power

  • That was a terrible misfortune to befall a poor dead girl so generally respected, and in wide demand as a seamstress; though, even then, the worst might have been averted had not my sister-in-law been of what they call a humane disposition and foolishly attached to the cat.

    Jurgen A Comedy of Justice

  • Mr. Gingrich proposes what he calls a "humane" approach, allowing many of the 11 million people who immigrated illegally to the United States to remain.

    NYT > Home Page

  • But it is a lesson that is still unlearned - or rather, it is casually denied by people who recommend what they call humane social policies.

    dougbelshaw.com

  • The mass-man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses.

    sassafrassin.com

  • Apparently the Administration's definition of "humane" is so far below the minimum standards that civilized nations have set that it must excuse itself even from those minimum standards.

    Balkinization

Comments

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  • "There are certain things you can truly count on when you see that Nature’s Acres label at your local supermarket. One, our products are USDA certified organic. Two, every cut of Nature’s Acres beef is minimally processed and contains absolutely no artificial hormones or antibiotics—ever! Three, all of our cows were grasped by the nostrils using cast iron nose tongs and had their heads violently wrenched backward so we could slash right through their carotid artery and windpipe with an 18-inch blade. And four, you’ll experience a rich beef taste you just can’t beat. Mmm, mmm!
    And you can take heart knowing that Nature’s Acres has earned the “Animal Welfare Approved” and “Certified Humane” seals of approval from independent inspectors."
    - Hank T. Norman, We Raise All Our Beef Humanely On Open Pasture And Then We Hang Them Upside Down And Slash Their Throats, The Onion, 22 Jan 2013.

    January 24, 2013