Definition of altruism in English:


Syllabification: al·tru·ism
Pronunciation: /ˈaltro͞oˌizəm


1The belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others: some may choose to work with vulnerable elderly people out of altruism
More example sentences
  • Most health professionals are motivated by altruism and concern for patients' best interests.
  • Certainly no one should imagine media corporations are suddenly guided by selfless altruism.
  • It brought out the very best in people: altruism, tolerance, noble-mindedness, and openness to others.
1.1 Zoology Behavior of an animal that benefits another at its own expense.
More example sentences
  • Yet systems of reciprocal altruism do emerge in various social species, even among us humans.
  • The book ends with an incisive analysis of animal altruism.
  • Are there any other animal examples of this type of social structure where altruism seems to play a part?


mid 19th century: from French altruisme, from Italian altrui 'somebody else', from Latin alteri huic 'to this other'.



More example sentences
  • Doctors can no longer be regarded as white-coated altruists who are moved by the will to heal; they have become shrewd and aggressive shareholders and investors.
  • Of course, it's not exactly hard to find billionaires who think of themselves as altruists regardless of the obscene amounts of wealth they accumulate.
  • This altruist was only persuaded to come forward when he realised he might use the money to help others, and is now considering setting up a charitable foundation.

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