Ask Difference

Humanely vs. Humanly — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Fiza Rafique — Updated on March 29, 2024
Humanely means with compassion and respect for life, while humanly refers to what is possible by human effort or capabilities.
Humanely vs. Humanly — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Humanely and Humanly


Key Differences

Humanely is an adverb that emphasizes compassion, kindness, and ethics, particularly in the treatment of animals or people. It suggests actions are taken with a conscious effort to minimize pain and suffering. For instance, advocating for humanely raised livestock involves ensuring animals live in comfortable, healthy conditions before they are slaughtered. Humanly, on the other hand, focuses on the limits or abilities inherent to humans. It is often used to describe actions or feats that are within the realm of human capability, or to acknowledge the imperfections and mistakes that are a natural part of being human. Saying something is "humanly impossible" indicates it's beyond human ability to achieve or comprehend.
While humanely deals with the ethical and compassionate treatment towards living beings, humanly speaks to the scope of what humans can achieve or are limited by. These concepts highlight different aspects of human action and morality; one is guided by ethics and kindness, the other by capability and fallibility.
Humanely often comes into play in discussions about animal welfare, ethical business practices, and the moral treatment of individuals, indicating actions taken to avoid unnecessary harm. Humanly, conversely, might be used in the context of effort and endeavor, highlighting the human capacity for achievement or the acceptance of human error.
The distinction between acting humanely and humanly underscores a broader conversation about our responsibilities and identities as humans. While the former calls for a compassionate approach to interactions with other beings, the latter accepts and embraces human limitations and efforts.

Comparison Chart


With compassion and respect for life.
Within the realm of human capabilities or limitations.


Ethical treatment and minimizing suffering.
Human effort, abilities, and imperfections.


Animal welfare, ethical treatment of people.
Describing what is possible or acknowledging mistakes.

Key Connotations

Compassion, kindness, moral action.
Capability, effort, human nature and limits.


Humanely raising animals, humanely ending suffering.
Achieving something humanly possible, admitting to humanly errors.

Compare with Definitions


Reflecting moral and compassionate choices.
Donating to disaster relief is one way to act humanely towards those in crisis.


Pertaining to human nature or characteristics.
To err is humanly, reflecting our innate imperfection.


With ethical consciousness towards living beings.
It's important to ensure that our products are sourced humanely.


Relating to human limitations and imperfections.
Forgiving others is part of understanding what is humanly flawed.


Prioritizing welfare and humane treatment.
The new regulations demand that animals are slaughtered humanely.


Within the scope of human ability.
Surviving in such extreme conditions was barely humanly possible.


In a manner showing compassion or respect for life.
The shelter strives to treat all animals humanely.


Acknowledging the human aspect of experiences or actions.
The team worked together in a humanly connective way.


Acting with kindness and consideration to prevent suffering.
Farmers are increasingly interested in growing crops and raising livestock humanely.


By human means or efforts; feasibly by humans.
We did all that was humanly possible to complete the project on time.


Characterized by kindness, mercy, or compassion
A humane judge.
A humane policy.


In a human way.


Characterized by an emphasis on humanistic values and concerns
A humane education.


Within the scope of human means, capabilities, or powers
Not humanly possible.


In a humane way


According to human experience or knowledge
Humanly speaking, the recession was not severe.


In a humane manner;
Let's treat the prisoners of war humanely


In a human manner.


In a human manner; after the manner of men; according to the knowledge or wisdom of men; as, the present prospects, humanly speaking, promise a happy issue.


Kindly; humanely.


In the manner of human beings;
Humanly possible

Common Curiosities

How does humanly possible differ from simply possible?

"Humanly possible" specifically refers to what can be achieved within the limits of human ability, while "simply possible" doesn't specify the agent or constraints involved.

Can something be humanely and humanly done?

Yes, an action can be both humanely and humanly done if it's within human capabilities and carried out with compassion and ethical consideration.

What does humanly mean?

Humanly refers to what is possible or achievable by humans, often acknowledging the limits and capabilities inherent to human nature.

What's an example of a humanly impossible task?

A humanly impossible task might be something that exceeds human physical or cognitive limitations, such as lifting a skyscraper or calculating vast numbers instantaneously without tools.

Can companies operate humanely?

Companies can operate humanely by ensuring their practices respect animal welfare, treat employees fairly, and minimize harm to communities and the environment.

How can one live more humanely?

Living more humanely involves making conscious choices that respect the well-being of others, such as choosing ethically sourced products, treating others with kindness, and advocating for humane policies.

What does it mean to act humanely?

To act humanely means to behave in a compassionate and kind manner, especially towards animals or people, often with the intention of minimizing suffering or harm.

Why is it important to act humanely?

Acting humanely is crucial for ethical reasons, promoting kindness, reducing suffering, and fostering a more compassionate and responsible society.

Is human error considered a part of being humanly imperfect?

Yes, human error is often cited as an aspect of being humanly imperfect, acknowledging that making mistakes is a natural part of the human condition.

Does humanly include emotional and intellectual abilities?

Yes, humanly encompasses both emotional and intellectual abilities, highlighting the range and limitations of what humans can feel, understand, and accomplish.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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