Is there a reasonable antonym for anthropomorphism? (The ascribing of non-human, animal or inanimate traits onto human beings) A Google search suggests that it’s not, but I thought somebody here might know.
Except for “non-human,” I don’t think so, but I’m not sure the term “antonym” applies to what you are looking for. The idea behind anthropomorphism is to take a fairly narrow set of traits–human–and apply them elsewhere. Anthropomorphizing a god, e.g.
To do the reverse would be to take an infinite set of traits (all possible non-human traits) and apply them to humans. One word wouldn’t do with the exception of “non-human” because the range is too broad.
Thus you might have “robotic” or “mechanical” but you also have an endless parade of “xxx-like” such as “god-like” or “cat-like” and a variety of ordinary adjectives such as “wooden.”
‘Objectification’ works - as in pornography reducing women to the level of sex objects, say.
Would *zoomorphism * or *theriomorphism * work?
IMHO that works pretty well at least with animals since to objectify is to remove personal emotional value, anthropomorphism is adding in emotional value that probably should not exist.
[completely irrelevant story]
I learned the meaning of anthropomorphism from reading the comic Calvin and Hobbes. In one strip, Calvin asks his mom why she is crying, and she responds with “I’m chopping up onions.” His response was “I hate it when mom anthropomorphizes the vegetables”, which led me to my dictionary. The brilliance of that comic is why it has always been my favorite.
[/completely irrelevant story]
Thanks for the responses!
Oh, wait, did I misunderstand?
The word you’re looking for is Theriomorphism.
And what’s the word for ascribing of non-human, animal or inanimate traits onto zombies?
But reanimation can be helpful. It appears to have provided the correct answer for the first time in this thread. Even if the OP no longer cares to know, the answer will be there for posterity’s sake when others find it through web searches on the subject.
I take that back it looks like **Dr. Drake **closed the coffin on post #7.
Came in to suggest zoomorphism. I think most readers would parse it in the way the OP intends.
Not quite - anthropomorphism is not limited in apllication to animals.
I thinik Szlater had it right: dehumanization is the antonym. The application of non-human traits to human beings is the opposite of applying human traits to non-human things.
Mmmm. Going to have to disagree with you, Spiritus. Dehumanization is not a comparison. It is the act of taking away, removing, or denying the traits which make us human. It is not the assignment of non-human traits to human.
New, but related question: is there a word that describes denying a trait or characteristic in an animal because the speaker believes the trait can only exist in humans? For instance, there are those who say that animals do not experience emotions; only humans can. I would disagree with this, citing personal experience with pets and other animals. What error would I accuse the other speaker of?