One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Make (something) more humane or civilized.‘his purpose was to humanize prison conditions’
civilize, improve, betterView synonyms
- ‘Indeed, such unofficial communication between hostile nations tends to humanize the enemy and improve the prospects for peace and cooperation.’
- ‘He campaigned to make public schools free, broaden education for women, and humanize the treatment of mental patients.’
- ‘But modern humanity did not understand the civilizing and humanizing mission of higher learning.’
- ‘Many of us have been persuaded that cooperating with power is the only way to progressively enlighten and humanise power.’
2Give (something) a human character.
anthropomorphize, personalizeView synonyms
- ‘Those houses were built of the materials furnished by the environment and embedded in hilly landscapes humanized by countless terraces.’
- ‘Movies are a good example of this, because in order to make a character exist in a film, you must necessarily personify and humanize that character.’
- ‘The important thing isn't to avoid a character like that but to humanize him.’
- ‘Public art could be part of an attempt to humanise our towns and cities, adding character to chain shops and traffic islands.’
- ‘And referring to that, helps to humanize, personalize, and make clearer, the subject which I originally intended to present.’
- ‘She humanizes Birmingham, showing it inhabited by people like ourselves, and creating a history with which we can identify.’
- ‘And when a soldier is killed in a war about which many people have mixed feelings, we need to humanise it.’
- ‘If the characters intermittently come across as embodiments of ideas and author mouthpieces, the performances go far towards humanizing them.’
- ‘The other characters are, oddly enough, humanized enough to make the show watchable.’
- ‘It humanizes an issue that a lot of people haven't spent a lot of time thinking about.’
- ‘Rivers are routinely corseted, straightened, shrunk, and rerouted as they are made to fit into our humanized landscapes.’
- ‘And for a wider audience, a list of names is an effective way to humanize a tragedy of this scope.’
- ‘Only at the end did either character become humanized, and it was too late for the film's success.’
- ‘I may begin to humanize them and think of them as persons instead of as animals or some untouchable class.’
- ‘We wanted to filter all these statistics and numbers into another form, to transform and humanize them.’
- ‘Brands are being used to humanise corporations by appropriating cuddly characteristics such as courage, honesty, friendliness and fun.’
- ‘From our perspective, of course, it does help to humanize the story.’
- ‘I humanize the issue for people who think gay people are like aliens.’
- ‘Although one school of thought holds her outburst might not be such a bad thing, as it humanizes the family by demonstrating an actual emotion.’
- ‘It is the simple act of humanizing the struggle, in the most poignant terms, putting a face to a name.’
Early 17th century: from French humaniser, from Latin humanus (see human).
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