GC: adj, n.

S: WHum – (last access: 4 September 2014); DWB – (last access: 2 February 2019); DigHum – (last access: 4 September 2014).

N: 1. 1794 (n) in the theological sense “one who affirms the humanity of Christ but denies his pre-existence and divinity,” from humanity + suffix from unitarian, etc.; see humanism. Meaning “philanthropist, one who advocates or practices human action to solve social problems” is from 1842, originally disparaging, with a suggestion of excess.
As an adjective, by 1834.
2. Depending on context, humanitarian, humane.
3. Collocations:

  • Verb + adj.: be humanitarian.
  • Adv. + adj.: essentially humanitarian, purely humanitarian.
  • Adj. + noun: aid, assistance, catastrophe, cause, convoy, crisis, disaster, effort, emergency, ground, intervention, mission, need, ration, reason, relief, supply, work, worker.

4. Cultural Interrelation: Among others, we can mention these famous humanitarians – people who have actively worked to help and improve life for their fellow men and women.

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1869). US Campaigner against slavery. Her novel ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ helped challenge attitudes on slavery.
  • William Booth (1812-1892). English Christian missionary who founded the Salvation Army in the Nineteenth Century. The Salvation Army sought to give Christian charity to the poorest members of society.
  • Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948). Leader of Indian independence movement. Advocated use of non-violent protest. Sought to unite different religious traditions. Also sought to improve welfare of the ‘untouchable’ caste and Indian women.
  • Mother Teresa (1910-1997). Born in Albania, lived in India. Devoted life to serving poor and neglected people in society. Her mission worked in countries across the world.
  • Abbe Pierre (1912-2007). French humanitarian who founded charity Emmaus movement to help refugees and the homeless.
  • Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993). British actress and humanitarian. Worked for many years with UNESCO in the developing world.

S: 1. OED – (last access: 4 September 2014). 2. NAVARRO p. 471. 3. OD – (last access: 27 May 2015); MW – (last access: 27 May 2015). 4. BIOGonline – (last access: 11 October 2015).

SYN: humane (depending on context)

S: COSNAUTAS/LIBRO ROJO (last access: 9 August 2019)

CR: altruism, human, humanely, humanised, humanitarian ethics, humanly.