Definition of humanitarian in English:

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Pronunciation: /(h)yo͞oˌmanəˈterēən/


1Concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare: groups sending humanitarian aid a humanitarian organization
More example sentences
  • The clear intention was to kill civilians gathered for food aid and to disrupt humanitarian relief.
  • He suggested duties would involve reconstruction, health care and humanitarian aid.
  • It joined a convey of 23 ambulances and nine lorries packed with humanitarian aid.
compassionate, humane;
unselfish, altruistic, generous, magnanimous, benevolent, merciful, kind, sympathetic
charitable, philanthropic, public-spirited, socially concerned, welfare
rare eleemosynary
1.1Denoting an event or situation that causes or involves widespread human suffering, especially one that requires the large-scale provision of aid: human rights groups have warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis
More example sentences
  • You know, both sides have been calling this a humanitarian disaster.
  • Figuring out how to apply the laws governing property and commercial activity are among the most complicated tasks in a humanitarian crisis.
  • Pressure has been mounting for greater Western involvement to end violence and a humanitarian crisis in Darfur.


A person who seeks to promote human welfare; a philanthropist.
Example sentences
  • My thanks go to those aforementioned humanitarians in the town, the skilled hospital staff and, especially, to all my thoughtful friends and neighbours for their gifts and many good wishes.
  • It was also described as cruel by Western humanitarians when the country tried to restrict its population growth with the introduction of a one-child policy.
  • It seems to be that the humanitarian thing to do - and I know that most anti-war people consider themselves humanitarians.
philanthropist, altruist, benefactor, patron, social reformer, good Samaritan;
archaic philanthrope


The primary sense of humanitarian is ‘concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare.’ Since the 1930s, a new sense, exemplified by phrases such as the worst humanitarian disaster this country has seen, has been gaining currency, and is now broadly established, especially in journalism, although it is not considered good style by all. In the Oxford English Corpus, the second most common collocation of humanitarian is humanitarian crisis.

Words that rhyme with humanitarian

agrarian, antiquarian, apiarian, Aquarian, Arian, Aryan, authoritarian, barbarian, Bavarian, Bulgarian, Caesarean (US Cesarean), centenarian, communitarian, contrarian, Darien, disciplinarian, egalitarian, equalitarian, establishmentarian, fruitarian, Gibraltarian, grammarian, Hanoverian, Hungarian, latitudinarian, libertarian, librarian, majoritarian, millenarian, necessarian, necessitarian, nonagenarian, octogenarian, ovarian, Parian, parliamentarian, planarian, predestinarian, prelapsarian, proletarian, quadragenarian, quinquagenarian, quodlibetarian, Rastafarian, riparian, rosarian, Rotarian, sabbatarian, Sagittarian, sanitarian, Sauveterrian, sectarian, seminarian, septuagenarian, sexagenarian, topiarian, totalitarian, Trinitarian, ubiquitarian, Unitarian, utilitarian, valetudinarian, vegetarian, veterinarian, vulgarian

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hu·man·i·tar·i·an

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