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

  • adv. In a human way.
  • adv. Within the scope of human means, capabilities, or powers: not humanly possible.
  • adv. According to human experience or knowledge: Humanly speaking, the recession was not severe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. In a human manner.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In a human manner; after the manner of men; according to the knowledge or wisdom of men.
  • adv. Kindly; humanely.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In a human manner; after the manner of men; according to human knowledge or belief: as, humanly speaking, it is impossible.
  • Kindly; humanely.

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

  • adv. in the manner of human beings


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • As a consequence people get burned out, if not self destructive, the turnover is high, and we fail to develop the structures and support that enable people to pursue a long term humanly worthwhile experience in the Perth left.


  • Jim Dyckman and Charity Coe Cheever: the problem that Kedzie was going to seem to solve -- as one solves any problem humanly, which is by substituting one or more new problems in place of the old.

    We Can't Have Everything

  • "I don't know why it shouldn't make me -- humanly, which is what we're speaking of -- as right as it makes you."

    The Beast in the Jungle

  • All this is quite as naturally and "humanly" conceived and written on St Paul's part as anything that I or my reader ever wrote about joys and griefs, our own or of our friends.

    Philippian Studies Lessons in Faith and Love from St. Paul's Epistle to the Philippians

  • The local police catch them and give them rabies shots, shoot a plastic tag into their ears and 'humanly' release them back into the 'wild'. TravelStream™ — Recent Entries at

  • Artificial skin with optical sensors to give robots 'humanly' touch


  • It had pleased her "humanly", she told Mr Verini, adding "but ...".

    Top stories from Times Online

  • I want, in other words, to speak about religious faith as a process of educating our vision and educating our passions; educating our vision so that we understand how to see that we don't see, how to see behind surfaces, the depth that we're not going to master; educating our passions in the sense of helping us to grow up 'humanly' in such a way that we don't take fright at this strangeness and mysteriousness and run away for all we're worth.

    'What Difference Does it Make?' - The Gospel in Contemporary Culture

  • If you were to do so, you would have to do it responsibly and with as much love for all concerned—including your wife—as humanly possible.

    The 7

  • I fought every urge to run at him in a blind frenzy, tearing his eyes out, biting off his ears, any savage thing I could humanly think of.

    Kings of Colorado


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I've never that usage of humanly before, but I've also never read Kierkegaard.

    March 31, 2009

  • Contrasted with speaking technically/dispassionately: 'Or what was it Abraham did for the universal? Let me speak humanly about it, really humanly!' (Kierkegaard, Fear & Trembling, trans. Alastair Hannay).

    March 30, 2009

  • Is this the kind of word that is almost always used colloquially? Also, has anyone heard this in a positive context? That is, "remembering ten thousand digits of pi is humanly possible".

    March 30, 2009

  • I think I understand, though it's surprising that the adjective humanly has appeared so rarely since Caxton, for it follows the same pattern as godly, womanly, and manly, and indeed, the adjectival suffix -ly seems fairly productive, e.g. a person can act in a doctorly manner; one may look for cousinly support; a woman may show wifely devotion; members of the Religious Society of Friends encourage Quakerly behavior; etc.

    March 13, 2009

  • That Caxton. What a guy.

    March 13, 2009

  • 'New to the dictionary' refers to the adjective, which is only attested from Caxton:

    1481 CAXTON tr. Hist. Reynard Fox (1970) 69 Whan a man doth amys And thenne by counseyl amendeth it That is humaynly Du. menschelic And so ought he to doo.

    The adverb is a different, long-established word.

    March 13, 2009

  • "Met Abraham"? I love it! *plans to use this phrase frequently*

    I guess that's what Mr. Diamond means by adding a "new" word that's already old.

    March 13, 2009

  • Strange. I'm sure I have been hearing people use the phrase "humanly possible" all of my life (and I met Abraham passed 50 a couple of years ago, as Slovenes say). So is this really a "new" word?

    March 13, 2009

  • A new OED word. "...a good example of an old word that is new to the dictionary..." --Graeme Diamond, Principal Editor, New Words, Oxford English Dictionary

    March 13, 2009