In this illustration by Milo Winter of Aesop's fable, "The North Wind and the Sun", a personified North Wind tries to strip the cloak off of a traveler.

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities.[1] It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology.[2]

Personification is the related attribution of human form and characteristics to abstract concepts such as nations, emotions, and natural forces, such as seasons and weather.

Both have ancient roots as storytelling and artistic devices, and most cultures have traditional fables with anthropomorphized animals as characters. People have also routinely attributed human emotions and behavioral traits to wild as well as domesticated animals.[3]


Anthropomorphism derives from its verb form anthropomorphize,[a] itself derived from the Greek ánthrōpos (ἄνθρωπος, lit. "human") and morphē (μορφή, "form"). It is first attested in 1753, originally in reference to the heresy of applying a human form to the Christian God.[b][1]