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unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others (opposed to ).
Animal Behavior. of or relating to behavior by an animal that may be to its disadvantage but that benefits others of its kind, often its close relatives.
Contemporary Examples

The next most popular idea was to give old fur coats to the homeless, an altruistic act to be sure.
Randy Cohen’s Three Favorite Ethicist Columns Randy Cohen October 8, 2012

We are hip to your covert, altruistic acts, but there are many close to you who will be floored by your stealthy, saintly ways.
The Stars Predict Your Week Starsky + Cox September 9, 2011

It remains unclear whether the interest is altruistic or self-aggrandizing, humane or prurient, psychopathic or admirable.
All These Useless Doctors Kent Sepkowitz January 31, 2010

This greater goal, be it altruistic or economic, helps impassion people, and passion is a great mobilizer.
How to Win at Crowdfunding Bianca Goodloe April 26, 2014

But his may be one of the most altruistic motives behind DIY nation-building yet.
So You Want to Rule a Kingdom? A Wacky History of One-Man Nations Nina Strochlic July 16, 2014

Historical Examples

This choice again may not be wholly one of selfish calculation; some altruistic feeling may be involved.
A Review of the Systems of Ethics Founded on the Theory of Evolution C. M. Williams

It was altruistic he knew, gentle he was sure, educational he was positive.
The Vagrant Duke George Gibbs

In no respect was it more so than in the genesis of the altruistic emotions.
The Destiny of Man John Fiske

They have no high-falutin, altruistic ideas of improving the Boche.
The Rough Road William John Locke

But, dear, I may come to see it through your eyes and in the light of this altruistic dog fancier.
The Fat of the Land John Williams Streeter


1853, from French altruiste (adj.), from altruisme (see altruism) + -ic.


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