Anthropomorphism – Definition & Meaning

Anthropomorphism is a term that is often used in various fields, including literature, art, and philosophy. It refers to the attribution of human characteristics or behaviors to non-human entities, such as animals, objects, or even natural phenomena. This phenomenon has been observed throughout history and has been the subject of much debate and exploration.


Anthropomorphism is a term that is derived from the Greek words “anthropos” meaning human and “morphe” meaning form or shape. The term is defined as the attribution of human characteristics to non-human entities, such as animals, objects, or natural phenomena.


The concept of anthropomorphism has been observed throughout history, dating back to ancient cultures such as the Egyptians and Greeks. These cultures often depicted their gods and goddesses in human form, with human emotions and behaviors. This practice continued throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, where artists often depicted animals with human-like expressions and actions.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, anthropomorphism is defined as “an interpretation of what is not human or personal in terms of human or personal characteristics.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “the attribution of human characteristics or behavior to a god, animal, or object.”


Anthropomorphism is often associated with children’s literature, where animals are given human-like qualities to make them more relatable and engaging for young readers. It is also a common theme in science fiction and fantasy, where non-human entities are given human-like attributes to explore ideas and concepts that are not possible with human characters.


Some synonyms for anthropomorphism include personification, humanization, and embodiment.


Antonyms of anthropomorphism include dehumanization, objectification, and abstraction.

The Same Root Words as Anthropomorphism

Anthropomorphism shares the same root words as anthropomorphic, which is defined as “having or resembling human form or characteristics.” Other related terms include anthropocentrism, which is the belief that humans are the most important beings in the universe, and anthropometry, which is the study of the measurements and proportions of the human body.

Example Sentences

  1. The cartoon character Mickey Mouse is a classic example of anthropomorphism, with his human-like features and behaviors.
  2. In ancient Egyptian mythology, the god Anubis was often depicted with the head of a jackal, demonstrating the culture’s use of anthropomorphism.
  3. The author used anthropomorphism in his novel by giving the main character’s dog human-like thoughts and emotions.
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