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Hu*man"i*ty (?), n.; pl. Humanities (#). [L. humanitas: cf. F. humanit'e. See Human.]

1.

The quality of being human; the peculiar nature of man, by which he is distinguished from other beings.

2.

Mankind collectively; the human race.

But hearing oftentimes The still, and music humanity. Wordsworth.

It is a debt we owe to humanity. S. S. Smith.

3.

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.

"The common offices of humanity and friendship."

Locke.

4.

Mental cultivation; liberal education; instruction in classical and polite literature.

Polished with humanity and the study of witty science. Holland.

5. pl. (With definite article)

The branches of polite or elegant learning; as language, rhetoric, poetry, and the ancient classics; belles-letters.

⇒ The cultivation of the languages, literature, history, and archaeology of Greece and Rome, were very commonly called literae humaniores, or, in English, the humanities, . . . by way of opposition to the literae divinae, or divinity.

G. P. Marsh.

 

© Webster 1913.