Human vs humane

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Human means of or relating to people or mankind as opposed to animal, machine or the divine. Human is an adjective that refers to attributes of people or mankind, good or bad, when used as a noun human refers to a member of the species homo sapiens. Human comes from the Latin word humanus which means of man, of a human being. Related words are humanness, humanity, humanitarian. According to Oxford English Dictionary, human is one of the one thousand most frequently used words.

Humane means showing the best attributes of humans, such as mercy, benevolence, sympathy. Humane is an adjective, humaneness is the related noun. Interestingly, human and humane were once used interchangeably to mean of or relating to a human being, having qualities befitting human beings. In the early eighteenth century the words human and humane became differentiated in spelling, accent and meaning.


The United States is slowing the pace of security aid to Mexico amid an ongoing human rights disaster that led the State Department to withhold some $5 million in aid earlier this year. (The Huffington Post)

In November, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan announced at a press conference that multiple officials had been suspended for the bombing, saying the airstrike was “a tragic but avoidable accident caused primarily by human error.” (The Independent Record)

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), during its 57th Ordinary Session held from 4-18 November, 2015, in Banjul, The Gambia, considered and granted Observer Status to The West African Institute for Legal Aid (WAILA) in accordance withthe Resolution on the criteria for granting Observer Status to NGOsworking in the area of human rights. (The POint)

Giving the animals in adoption a good quality of life is a priority for the Humane Society, which depends on its volunteers to provide exercise and attention on a regular basis. (The Lincoln Journal-Star)

The Humane Society is working with Missouri’s family farmers, bringing them financial opportunity through humane, sustainable agriculture and connecting them with the growing cage-free market in California and around the country. (The Kansas City Star)