Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


noun look·ism \ˈlu̇-ki-zəm\

Definition of lookism

  1. :  prejudice or discrimination based on physical appearance and especially physical appearance believed to fall short of societal notions of beauty

Did You Know?

There are a lot of -isms in the English language but most people overlook lookism. It describes the prejudice or discrimination people have toward others because of their appearances. People first used the word in the late 1970s in reference to how people were viewing others who were heavier set. Today the panorama of lookism extends from the "overly" beautiful actor or actress to the homely child. Economists, sociologists, and psychologists alike pay close attention to the lookism that occurs in everyday life and examine how it affects people and society as a whole.


First Known Use of lookism


Variants of lookism

also looksism play \ˈlu̇k-si-\

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up lookism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the range of perception or understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!