anthropomorphism

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Coined in the mid-1700s. From Ancient Greek ἄνθρωπος ‎(ánthrōpos, man, human being) and μορφή ‎(morphḗ , form, shape)

Noun[edit]

anthropomorphism ‎(plural anthropomorphisms)

  1. The attribution of human characteristics and behavior to which is not human. [from the mid-18th c.]
  2. (theology) the attribution of human characteristics to divine beings

Usage notes[edit]

This term carries very different connotations when used in different contexts. In literature, anthropomorphism describes merely a device of fiction writing, whereas in science (particularly biology) anthropomorphism has traditionally been used pejoratively when a scientist appears to be attributing to animals characteristics that are assumed to be exclusive to human beings.

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