(noun) The doctrine that emphasizes the potential and welfare of people through the use of critical thinking and rationality—independent of religious belief or control by supernatural forces.


  1. Recycling, on the basis that it will be good for humanity.
  2. Studying sociology to understand how people and society function, which then forms a basis for recommendations as to how to help humanity through applied sociology.

Audio Pronunciation: (hu·man·ism)

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Usage Notes:

  • A (noun) humanitarian (also called humanist) is an advocate of humanism or humanistic views.
  • Also called:
    • humanitarianism
    • secular humanism

Additional Information:

Related Terms:

Works Consulted

Collins English Dictionary: Complete and Unabridged. 6th ed. 2003. Glasgow, Scotland: Collins.

Macmillan. (N.d.) Macmillan Dictionary. (

Merriam-Webster. (N.d.) Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (

O’Leary, Zina. 2007. The Social Science Jargon Buster: the Key Terms You Need to Know. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (

Princeton University. 2010. WordNet. (

Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1997. New York: Random House.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wiktionary, The Free Dictionary. Wikimedia Foundation. (

How to Cite the Definition of Humanism

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “humanism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved June 17, 2019 (

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

humanism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “humanism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed June 17, 2019.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“humanism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 17 Jun. 2019. <>.