bias

noun
bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs \

Definition of bias

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : an inclination of temperament or outlook especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice
b : an instance of such prejudice
c : bent, tendency
d(1) : deviation of the expected value of a statistical estimate from the quantity it estimates
(2) : systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others
2 : a line diagonal to the grain of a fabric especially : a line at a 45 degree angle to the selvage often utilized in the cutting of garments for smoother fit
3a : a peculiarity in the shape of a bowl that causes it to swerve when rolled on the green in lawn bowling
b : the tendency of a bowl to swerve also : the impulse causing this tendency
c : the swerve of the bowl
4a : a voltage applied to a device (such as a transistor control electrode) to establish a reference level for operation
b : a high-frequency voltage combined with an audio signal to reduce distortion in tape recording
on the bias
1 : diagonally to the grain of a fabric cut the cloth on the bias sleeves cut on the bias
2 : at an angle : diagonally to the fibers of something cut the meat on the bias carrots cut on the bias

bias

verb
biased or biassed; biasing or biassing

Definition of bias (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to give a settled and often prejudiced outlook to his background biases him against foreigners
2 : to apply a slight negative or positive voltage to (something, such as a transistor)

bias

adjective

Definition of bias (Entry 3 of 4)

: diagonal, slanting used chiefly of fabrics and their cut

bias

adverb

Definition of bias (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : diagonally cut cloth bias
2 obsolete : awry

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Other Words from bias

Adjective

biasness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bias

Noun

predilection, prepossession, prejudice, bias mean an attitude of mind that predisposes one to favor something. predilection implies a strong liking deriving from one's temperament or experience. a predilection for travel prepossession suggests a fixed conception likely to preclude objective judgment of anything counter to it. a prepossession against technology prejudice usually implies an unfavorable prepossession and connotes a feeling rooted in suspicion, fear, or intolerance. a mindless prejudice against the unfamiliar bias implies an unreasoned and unfair distortion of judgment in favor of or against a person or thing. a strong bias toward the plaintiff

Verb

incline, bias, dispose, predispose mean to influence one to have or take an attitude toward something. incline implies a tendency to favor one of two or more actions or conclusions. I incline to agree bias suggests a settled and predictable leaning in one direction and connotes unfair prejudice. the experience biased him against foreigners dispose suggests an affecting of one's mood or temper so as to incline one toward something. her nature disposes her to trust others predispose implies the operation of a disposing influence well in advance of the opportunity to manifest itself. does fictional violence predispose them to accept real violence?

Bias vs. Biased

Verb

In recent years, we have seen more evidence of the adjectival bias in constructions like “a bias news program” instead of the more usual “a biased news program.” The reason is likely because of aural confusion: the -ed of biased may be filtered out by hearers, which means that bias and biased can sound similar in the context of normal speech. They are not interchangeable, however. The adjective that means “exhibited or characterized by an unreasoned judgment” is biased (“a biased news story”). There is an adjective bias, but it means “diagonal” and is used only of fabrics (“a bias cut across the fabric”).

Examples of bias in a Sentence

Noun

… members of the opinion media will cherry-pick moments from the debate that support their own ideological biases. — Michelle Cottle, New Republic, 16 Oct. 2000 Blatant racial and gender discrimination is just about over, creating a sociological space in which to worry about subtler forms of bias. — Gregg Easterbrook, New Republic, 20 Dec. 1999 Like the printing press before it, the computer has a powerful bias toward amplifying personal autonomy and individual problem-solving. — Katha Pollitt, Nation, 9 Oct. 1995 He showed a bias toward a few workers in particular. Do they have a bias against women? The company was accused of racial bias. The decision was made without bias. She showed no bias toward older clients. a student with a strong bias towards the arts

Verb

Unfortunately, his convictions are not clearly and logically developed; they mostly lurk in the background biasing his reporting. He does not always give the reader a fair chance to follow the arguments of the actors—even those with whom he ardently agrees. — Leonard Silk, New York Times Book Review, 24 Feb. 1980 I don't want to bias you against the movie, but I thought the book was much better. The circumstances could bias the results of the survey.

Adverb

made of fabric cut bias
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The constitutional prohibition on people under the age of 35 serving as president is just one of these weird lacuna that was handed down to us from the 18th century but that nobody would seriously propose creating today if not for status quo bias. Matthew Yglesias, Vox, "It’s ridiculous that it’s unconstitutional for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to run for president," 12 Dec. 2018 Reports indicated Trump might even direct regulators to investigate Google and other platforms for bias. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The long, tortured quest to make Google unbiased," 6 Dec. 2018 The data problem The risk for racial bias starts with the data used by DNA tests. Dieter Holger, PCWorld, "DNA testing for ancestry is more detailed for white people. Here’s why, and how it's changing," 4 Dec. 2018 That’s why these days every standardized-test question is tested for bias. Mathina Calliope, WSJ, "I Learned to Love Standardized Tests," 29 Nov. 2018 The president, for months, has blasted Strzok and Page for the bias revealed in their text messages first found by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Brooke Singman, Fox News, "Trump agrees to delay release of Russia files, asks IG to review amid DOJ concerns," 21 Sep. 2018 What happens if Republican senators, following the lead of Donald Trump and Sen. Orrin Hatch, use the hearing to rail against Facebook for real or imagined anti-conservative bias? Peter Kafka, Recode, "Jack, Sheryl and the empty chair: A preview of Silicon Valley’s trip to Washington," 4 Sep. 2018 The majority involve fewer than 100 subjects, and only a handful meet the gold standard of scientific testing, says Williams — that is, being double-blinded and placebo-controlled to squash the potential for bias. Jolene Edgar, Allure, "The Truth About Growth Factors in Skin Care and Why They're Controversial," 2 Aug. 2018 Drivers and passengers are connected via algorithm, controlling for possible customer bias. Author: Miranda Moore, Anchorage Daily News, "One reason for Uber’s gender pay gap: Men drive faster," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In Manne’s analysis, our society isn’t merely biased against women, but rather actively generates backlash against women who challenge men and male dominance. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The 9 thinkers who made sense of 2018’s chaos," 27 Dec. 2018 Critics of private arbitration argue that arbitrators tend to be biased in favor of business and against the interests of consumers. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Uber wins key ruling in its fight against treating drivers as employees," 25 Sep. 2018 Judiciary Committee members on both sides of the aisle used various findings in the report to support their long-standing positions on whether the Clinton investigation was biased. Eric Tucker, BostonGlobe.com, "Wray says FBI won’t repeat errors noted in watchdog report," 18 June 2018 The rest of the inspector general report on the FBI: This is last in our ranking for two reasons: 1) Despite Strzok's text, the watchdog didn't find that the FBI's overall 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails was biased. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Your super cheat sheet to a super big week of news," 16 June 2018 Given the position of its companion, this would bias dust formation to the slow-moving material. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Scientists spot two massive stars creating a pinwheel of dust," 20 Nov. 2018 Exchange executives have privately worried that Mr. Redfearn, a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive, is biased against them, citing his past criticism of market-data fees. Alexander Osipovich, WSJ, "Brokers Notch Wins in Fight Over NYSE, Nasdaq Data Practices," 27 Sep. 2018 The Trump administration insists the council is biased against Israel. Washington Post, "After US, Israel also backs away from UN human rights body," 22 June 2018 The notification — along with a decline in traffic to their Facebook page — proves to the sisters that Facebook is biased against conservatives. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, "Diamond and Silk demand sit down with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg," 8 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bias.' 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 bias

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

circa 1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1551, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bias

Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle French biais

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Statistics for bias

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bias

The first known use of bias was in 1530

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More Definitions for bias

bias

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bias

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly

: a strong interest in something or ability to do something

bias

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bias (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have a strong and often unfair influence on (someone or something)

bias

noun
bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs \

Kids Definition of bias

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a seam, cut, or stitching running in a slant across cloth
2 : a favoring of some ideas or people over others : prejudice She has a bias against newcomers.

bias

verb
biased or biassed; biasing or biassing

Kids Definition of bias (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a prejudiced outlook to Existing ideas may bias his observation of events.

bias

noun
bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs \

Legal Definition of bias

: a personal and often unreasoned judgment for or against one side in a dispute : prejudice a judge disqualified because of bias

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More from Merriam-Webster on bias

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bias

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bias

Spanish Central: Translation of bias

Nglish: Translation of bias for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bias for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bias

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