human

human, humane, humanitarian
1. The notion that human should only be used as an adjective and that human being should be used for the noun is found in some older usage books (though not Fowler, 1926) but is not supported by the weight of usage. Many examples of human as a noun will be found in OED2, to which may be added:

• There rose before his inward sight the picture of a human at once heroic and sick —William Golding, 1954

• The human got in and, still holding the box with exaggerated care, placed it on its knees —T. Pratchett, 1992

• Sorry, dear, I forgot that you humans need to eat every day —J. Slater, 2003.

2. As an adjective, human is used predominantly as a classifying word in non-judgemental contexts, qualifying words such as body, eye, life, mind, nature, race, rights, and voice. The difference between human and humane in their judgemental meanings is that human denotes a generalized quality that distinguishes (actual or ideal) human behaviour from that of non-humans, whereas humane denotes a quality as it affects treatment of other people: (human)

• When he pushed the postern closed behind him she stepped back into the gateway, eyeing him with very human caution —J. Byrne, 1993

• To highlight his human qualities, Kong was given more expressive features than a normal gorilla —Times, 2004

• (humane) This is only a temporary solution and there have been many attempts to organise more humane working systems —W. T. Singleton, 1989

• We must…seek a more humane way to deal with asylum-seekers that keeps families together —Morning Star, 2007.

Note, however, that humane is used with reference to animals as well as people:

• There is a range of attitudes including the position of those who can accept whaling in principle if it can be made more humane in practice —Animal Welfare, 1992

• A dog's ear infection was so severe that the only humane option was for him to be put to sleep, a court heard —South Wales Echo, 2007.

3. Humanitarian is a 19c word and was originally a noun used in theological contexts. From the 1850s it has had the adjectival meaning ‘practising humanity or humane action’, and it is a common word in modern contexts of international aid and support:

• Reports from Jordan indicated that Iraqi businessmen fearful of incurring penalties were no longer prepared even to transport food and essential humanitarian supplies to Iraq —Keesings, 1990.

In more recent use it has developed a wider meaning relating to wars and catastrophes, as in humanitarian crisis, disaster, etc., where the sense is ‘requiring humanitarian action’, in effect the opposite of the original meaning. Usage is stretched too far if it is treated virtually as equivalent to humane: ☒ A legal war is not necessarily a humanitarian war.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Human — (von lat. humanus menschlich, auch engl. human „Mensch“, „menschlich“) bezeichnet: in der Medizin: etwas auf den Menschen bezogenes (z. B. Humanpathogen) in der Philosophie: „menschlich“, im Sinne von ethisch hochwertig. Siehe Humanität… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Human — Hu man, a. [L. humanus; akin to homo man: cf. F. humain. See {Homage}, and cf. {Humane}, {Omber}.] Belonging to man or mankind; having the qualities or attributes of a man; of or pertaining to man or to the race of man; as, a human voice; human… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Human Be In — Le Human Be In est un happening géant qui s est déroulé à San Francisco, au Golden Gate Park le 14 janvier 1967 et qui marqua le début du Summer of Love (Eté de l amour). Des centaines de personnes se rassemblent dès l après midi sur le terrain… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Human be-in — Le Human Be In est un happening géant qui s est déroulé à San Francisco, au Golden Gate Park le 14 janvier 1967 et qui marqua le début du Summer of Love (Eté de l amour). Des centaines de personnes se rassemblent dès l après midi sur le terrain… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Human — (в переводе с английского означает человек). Может означать: Human  Люди (Warcraft) Human  четвёртый альбом дэт метал группы Death. Human  песня инди рок группы The Killers Human песня синтипоп группы The Human League …   Википедия

  • human — (adj.) mid 15c., humain, humaigne, from O.Fr. humain, umain (adj.) of or belonging to man (12c.), from L. humanus of man, human, also humane, philanthropic, kind, gentle, polite; learned, refined, civilized, probably related to homo (gen.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • human — [hyo͞o′mən, yo͞o′mən] adj. [ME humayne < OFr humaine < L humanus, akin to homo, a man: see HOMO1] 1. of, belonging to, or typical of man (Homo sapiens) [the human race] 2. consisting of or produced by people [human society] 3. having or… …   English World dictionary

  • human — Ⅰ. human UK US /ˈhjuːmən/ adjective ► relating to people: »Most of the problems were caused by human error, poor communication and staffing issues. »The new regulations would improve labour conditions and protect human welfare. Ⅱ. human UK US… …   Financial and business terms

  • −Human — Human is a song released in Metallica s S M album. Originally called Minus Human , it was integrated in the theme line up for the Symphony Metallica album. It is inserted as one of the two unreleased songs, and has never been played without… …   Wikipedia

  • human — Adj menschenwürdig erw. fremd. Erkennbar fremd (17. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. hūmānus, zu l. homo Mensch (die Lautverhältnisse sind aber unklar). Abstraktum: Humanität; Adjektiv: humanitär. Da das damit verknüpfte antike Lebensideal mit… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

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