affirmative action


Definition of affirmative action

: an active effort to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups and women sought to achieve a multicultural staff through affirmative action also : a similar effort to promote the rights or progress of other disadvantaged persons

Examples of affirmative action in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The state isn’t alone this year in the conflict surrounding affirmative action. Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY, "California voters failed to repeal ban on affirmative action. What signal does that send the rest of the nation?," 30 Dec. 2020 Both passed and were signed by Newsom, although the effort to restore affirmative action, Proposition 16, was rejected by voters in November. John Wildermuth,, "Newsom to nominate Shirley Weber, Assembly member from San Diego, as secretary of state," 22 Dec. 2020 Majority-minority California voted almost as a center-right state and struck down ballot initiatives to revitalize affirmative action and expand the franchise partially to 17-year-olds. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Biden's moment of truth," 12 Nov. 2020 For instance, employers must be prepared for vigorous enforcement of requirements related to occupational safety and health, payment of overtime, proper administration of employee benefit plans, and affirmative action. Edward Segal, Forbes, "Senate Will Vote Monday On Walsh Nomination To Be Labor Secretary," 20 Mar. 2021 On the court, some of her most notable votes sought to enhance the rights of women as well as protect affirmative action and minority voting rights. Washington Post, "Celebrating female leaders," 7 Mar. 2021 The group’s website lists 44 founding members, including Choo and Laura Stadum, OHSU’s Title IX coordinator and affirmative action and equal opportunity director who took the social worker’s complaint against Campbell last year. oregonlive, "2 more women allege TikTok Doc forced his body against them from behind while at OHSU," 8 Mar. 2021 The conversation between adjunct professors Sandra Sellers and David Batson had triggered an investigation by Georgetown University’s office of diversity, equity and affirmative action. Washington Post, "Georgetown Law professor terminated after ‘reprehensible’ comments about Black students," 3 Mar. 2021 Some have pointed to government social programs such as welfare, subsidized housing, health care, employment development, affirmative action and education as ways Black Americans were aided. Stephanie Toone, ajc, "A new chapter in the tale of reparations in America," 19 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'affirmative action.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of affirmative action

1961, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of affirmative action was in 1961

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Last Updated

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Affirmative action.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for affirmative action

affirmative action


English Language Learners Definition of affirmative action

chiefly US : the practice of improving the educational and job opportunities of members of groups that have not been treated fairly in the past because of their race, sex, etc.

affirmative action


Legal Definition of affirmative action

: an active effort (as through legislation) to improve the employment or educational opportunities of members of minority groups or women

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