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 Two years ago, Kennedy joined the liberals to uphold a limited affirmative action plan at the University of Texas, with the chief justice in dissent. David G. Savage,, "Supreme Court this year gave a preview of things to come: Wins for Trump, employers and Republicans," 1 July 2018 Instead, its critics say, the organization's real goal is to end affirmative action altogether. Collin Binkley,, "Federal judge upholds affirmative action at Harvard," 1 Oct. 2019 Buttigieg has proposed the broad outlines of a racial justice agenda on the presidential trail, including criminal justice reform, investing in home ownership and defending affirmative action. Tara Golshan, Vox, "Pete Buttigieg and the controversy around racial tensions in South Bend, explained," 27 June 2019 In February 2019, the DNC first directed the SDEC to adopt bylaws that complied with the DNC Charter and bylaws, with a key part of being an affirmative action plan to promote more participation by minority groups. John Sharp |, al, "Reed/Worley faction of Alabama Democratic Party says Saturday meeting ‘is on’ despite cancellation," 15 Nov. 2019 The case was brought by Students for Fair Admissions, a group led by Edward Blum, a conservative legal activist who has long fought to overturn affirmative action policies and has successfully challenged the Voting Rights Act. New York Times, "Cheating Scandals, Charters and Falling Test Scores: 5 Takeaways From the Year in Education," 28 Dec. 2019 Others wonder whether affirmative action should exist in any form. WSJ, "Open Borders, Affirmative Action, the Framers and the Neocons," 28 Jan. 2020 The Trump administration has fought affirmative action at several schools. Collin Binkley, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal judge upholds affirmative action in Harvard admissions," 1 Oct. 2019 Thomas has lectured blacks about the evils of affirmative action. John Blake, CNN, "The Clarence Thomas myth that refuses to die," 7 Dec. 2019

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

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Affirmative action.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

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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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