- The attribution of human characteristics and behavior to something not human. [from the mid-18th c.]
- (theology) The attribution of human characteristics to divine beings.
Despite the similarity in meaning, 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.