Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
1853, from French altruisme, coined 1830 by Auguste Comte, from autrui (“of or to others”) + -isme, from Old French, from Latin alteri, dative of alter (“other”), from which also English alter. Apparently inspired by French Latin legal phrase l'autrui, from le bien, le droit d'autrui (“the good, the right of the other”). Introduced into English by George Henry Lewes in 1853, in his translation Comte’s Philosophy of the Sciences, 1, xxi.
altruism (plural altruisms)
- Regard for others, both natural and moral without regard for oneself; devotion to the interests of others; brotherly kindness; selflessness–opposed to egoism or selfishness.
- altruist (noun form, a person who practises)
- altruistic (adjective form, something with the nature of altruism)
- selflessness is related as many who are selfless dedicate efforts to altruism, and many altruists are relatively selfless, but they are not synonyms.
- altruism in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- altruism in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911