affirmative action

noun

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 impulse to validate affirmative action is good, but the Board is not a government agency. Annie Abrams, The New Republic, "The College Board Hopes to Profit from “Adversity”," 6 June 2019 The mandate came in a deal the medical school struck with the Education Department in February, concluding a 14-year federal investigation into the university’s use of affirmative action, according... Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "U.S. Requires Texas Tech Med School to End Use of Race in Admissions Decisions," 9 Apr. 2019 Trump’s pick, if confirmed, could also be a deciding factor in matters related to affirmative action, religious liberties, and capital punishment. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Think President Trump Is About to Remake the Federal Judiciary? To Some Degree, He Already Has," 8 July 2018 The recent affirmative action trial involving Harvard put this on display. Tyler Kingkade, Town & Country, "How the College Admissions Scandal Is Different From the Other Ways Rich Parents Help Their Kids Get Into School," 13 Mar. 2019 The administration this week rescinded Obama-era policies encouraging affirmative action in higher education. David Lauter, latimes.com, "As Trump readies Supreme Court pick, Democrats prepare a fight even though a loss is likely," 6 July 2018 The court has ruled that colleges and universities can use affirmative action to help minority students get into school, but conservatives over the years have argued that these programs hurt the chances of white and Asian-American applicants. Andrew O'reilly, Fox News, "Trump administration is breaking from Obama-era affirmative action policies," 2 Oct. 2018 During his earlier stint as prime minister, Mr. Mahathir perpetuated an affirmative action scheme for Malays that was designed to erase the long years of discrimination under British colonial rule. New York Times, "Malaysia Finds an Unlikely Champion of Democracy: Its Ex-Strongman," 11 May 2018 Even with Kennedy on the court, affirmative action faced an uncertain future. NBC News, "Trump admin reverses Obama, prods schools to ignore racial factors in admissions," 3 July 2018

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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Last Updated

10 Jun 2019

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The first known use of affirmative action was in 1961

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More Definitions for affirmative action

affirmative action

noun

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

noun

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

More from Merriam-Webster on affirmative action

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about affirmative action

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