Definition of humane in English:



  • 1Having or showing compassion or benevolence.

    ‘regulations ensuring the humane treatment of animals’
    • ‘The Council will at all times act in a humane and compassionate fashion.’
    • ‘Generally, people who are astrologers or consult astrologers are humane, compassionate, insightful people, by and large.’
    • ‘The humane treatment of the animals was also a major priority.’
    • ‘One of its top priorities, the company says, is the humane treatment of animals.’
    • ‘She assured him that she and her colleagues would adopt a compassionate and humane approach to all such cases.’
    • ‘We should aspire, along with being world champions in the sporting arena, to being the most humane and compassionate people on this planet.’
    • ‘It takes away all things that makes humans humane - tolerance, trust, generosity and compassion.’
    • ‘Esther's indomitable humane compassion drives her to risk her own life to oppose narrow and violent evil.’
    • ‘One thing I do understand is that the more you try and push people into a more humane and understanding approach the more they tend to dig in their heels.’
    • ‘These were the sort of things that tend to blur the clear perception of the visionary - troublesome motes like compassion and humane understanding and social concern.’
    • ‘I have full faith that our scientists will go forward with a moral compass - with humane values and sound ethics guiding the way.’
    • ‘You might also be interested to know that there has been a survey done to determine how much the public cares about humane treatment of the animals they use for food.’
    • ‘Should we protest, now, for the humane treatment of prisoners?’
    • ‘A new understanding of animal rights and humane animal treatment was what led him to become an activist and environmentalist, Mason said.’
    • ‘Qualitatively speaking, there may even be something compassionate and humane in it.’
    • ‘It means the animal was raised under a specific set of protocols for humane treatment.’
    • ‘Therefore, they have rights of dignity, humane treatment, access to legal advice, and even correspondence.’
    • ‘Could we not have protected our borders in more humane and compassionate ways?’
    • ‘For me the ban, when implemented, will represent a step towards a more humane treatment of wild animals.’
    • ‘How long should humane people tolerate that treatment and do nothing?’
    compassionate, kind, kindly, kind-hearted, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant, civilized, good, good-natured, gentle
    lenient, forbearing, forgiving, merciful, mild, tender, clement, benign, humanitarian, benevolent, charitable, generous, magnanimous
    approachable, accessible
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Inflicting the minimum of pain.
      ‘humane methods of killing’
      • ‘All of the evidence is that a quick death by dogs is the most humane method available.’
      • ‘I assumed he could be helpful in devising a humane, nonviolent method of execution.’
      • ‘The farmers should be the only people who are allowed to kill foxes and their methods must be humane and not cause to much suffering to the animals.’
      • ‘We want to make sure about the poison used and that it is indeed the most humane method of killing the birds.’
      • ‘He said a shot to the head was the only humane method of shooting.’
      • ‘We now have indelible images of the conditions under which beasts are transported to countries where, it's said, killing is less than humane.’
      • ‘Most of the seals are being killed by clubbing to death, which is claimed to be a humane method.’
      • ‘We wouldn't because we have a more humane methods of killing them.’
      • ‘He said the halal cut, when animals are slaughtered by the cut-throat method, is more humane and does not spread infection.’
      • ‘Under new guidelines, most seals are meant to be shot and not clubbed to death in a bid to make the killing more humane.’
      • ‘But I am willing to put my concerns to one side if a humane stunning could be inflicted on the animal prior to its slaughter.’
      • ‘I accept they have to be controlled and I have been out in the field looking at various methods and have come to the conclusion that a marksman is the best and most humane method.’
      • ‘It's not a quick or humane death, and there are alternative methods.’
      • ‘Only humane killing techniques, even if this involves non-traditional technology, should be used’
      • ‘Someday, maybe, they'll be able to treat spiders and humans as morally equal, but for now they need to concentrate on more humane slaughter methods.’
      • ‘In these areas we have killed foxes by shooting: a humane and efficient method when carried out by a skilled shot.’
      • ‘The patch has been found to be highly effective in treating pain in humans, and it may prove to be a more humane pain relief procedure for cats.’
      • ‘The cruel method of hanging a condemned man should be replaced by more humane methods such as lethal injections.’
      • ‘This will take some hours and is the most humane household method of euthanasia known at this stage.’
      • ‘They are then put down using lethal injection, a method of dispatch confirmed as both legally acceptable and humane by the animal protection authorities.’
  • 2formal (of a branch of learning) intended to have a civilizing effect on people.

    ‘the humane education of literary study’
    • ‘Without adequate monitoring, it is difficult to ensure that materials provided to schools embody the true principles of humane education.’
    • ‘Those scientists who did not come from the socially privileged classes had even more to gain by establishing reputations as men of humane learning.’
    • ‘Transmitters of humane learning and values, Canadian universities had become responsible for the spread of Canadian civilization.’
    • ‘As a believer in the potential of computers in schools, he also reminds us of the deepest civic and humane goals of education.’
    • ‘He just seems like a very smart, very humane voice in literature and I don't know why he isn't more widely disseminated.’


Late Middle English: the earlier form of human, restricted to the senses above in the 18th century.