1. A member of the primate genus Homo, especially a member of the species Homo sapiens, distinguished from other apes by a large brain and the capacity for speech.
2. A person: the extraordinary humans who explored Antarctica.
1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of humans: the course of human events; the human race.
2. Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals: an act of human kindness.
3. Subject to or indicative of the weaknesses, imperfections, and fragility associated with humans: a mistake that shows he's only human; human frailty.
4. Having the form of a human.
5. Made up of humans: formed a human bridge across the ice.
[Middle English humain, from Old French, from Latin hūmānus; see dhghem- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.