bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs How to pronounce bias (audio) \

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


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)



Definition of bias (Entry 3 of 4)

: diagonal, slanting used chiefly of fabrics and their cut



Definition of bias (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : diagonally cut cloth bias
2 obsolete : awry

Other Words from bias


biasness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bias


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


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


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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Back during the founding of this nation, newspapers were partisan in nature, spewing bias and one-sidedness. Charles Selle, Chicago Tribune, 19 Sep. 2022 The world Richelle Mead built in her series was a world of social disparity, political hierarchies, elitism, cultural bias and a general sense of unfairness. Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2022 Administrative hangups as well as historical patterns of discrimination and bias continue to plague the world of CGMs., 15 Sep. 2022 Women of color are also under-diagnosed for eating disorders, thanks to medical bias and lack of access to quality healthcare. Smriti Mundhra, ELLE, 13 Sep. 2022 Two years before his life would take a similar turn, Donovan reflected on questions of police bias and brutality toward people who looked like him. Lucia Walinchus, Washington Post, 5 Sep. 2022 But Theetge rejected that recommendation, saying in a separate memo that Valentino had been trained in recent years on nondiscrimination, implicit bias and fair and impartial policing. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 1 Sep. 2022 People are concerned about the economy, inflation—which is something Black people have dealt with forever—racial prejudice and bias, and people who are unable to articulate their plans to where our community can effectively get behind. Kevin L. Clark, Essence, 1 Sep. 2022 The Middlesex district attorney’s office created the Anti-Hate Anti-Bias Task Force to bring together lawmakers, faith leaders, educators, youth leaders, law enforcement, and community advocates to address incidents of hate and bias. Emily Sweeney,, 31 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Defense attorneys asked Wilcox last week to move the trial, arguing that county residents being so heavily affected by Smithfield’s departure may bias jurors against Hsiung and Picklesimer. Leto Sapunar, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Aug. 2022 Prieto filed a motion requesting that discovery in the case be sealed, arguing that the release of the elevator footage showed the prosecution was trying to bias the public against Clenney. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 31 Aug. 2022 Audi has programmed quattro to bias torque towards the front axle (COMFORT) or a balanced front/rear split (AUTO). Michael Harley, Forbes, 2 June 2022 Bannon's defense attorney David Schoen argued that the recent release of audio by Mother Jones could bias prospective jurors. Robert Legare, CBS News, 18 July 2022 But this can bias your decision-making from one that has a successful end in mind to a hypothetical catastrophe, which might be based on unfounded proof. Amiee Ball, Forbes, 13 May 2022 Absent those, a premature pivot to Omicron might bias immune systems toward the wrong track. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 13 May 2022 Ohio immigrant-rights lawyers and advocates say Republicans are wrongly framing a public health emergency as a national security problem and contributing to bias against Latinos and immigrants regardless of their citizenship. New York Times, 28 Apr. 2022 Expectations for her were high, and, as Brown-Nagin reveals, assumptions about how her race, gender and past work as a civil rights lawyer would bias her rulings were rampant. Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Continuing its world premiere, this play follows a training company attempting to get a contract for the Cleveland Police Department’s de-escalation and anti-bias training. Joey Morona, cleveland, 14 Sep. 2022 Elam also promised to convene a series of campus forums and anti-bias workshops. Jeong Park Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 10 Feb. 2022 For its award, Harding Middle School is eligible to receive anti-bias education grant money. John Benson, cleveland, 8 Sep. 2022 Opponents charge that Loudoun, by holding things like anti-bias trainings for employees, will teach children of different races to hate one another and White children to hate themselves. Washington Post, 11 Aug. 2021 Some of the changes include anti-bias training and maintenance of an early intervention program for employees, with a focus on officers who have recent internal affairs investigations or use of force. Celina Tebor, USA TODAY, 9 Feb. 2022 The district formed a Cultural Competency Council, ran anti-bias training for staff, and hired a diversity consultant. Chelsea Sheasley, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Jan. 2022 The report also called for more funding to help UC thoroughly assess applications, provide anti-bias training for application readers and strengthen supports to help students complete their degrees. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 The report also called for more funding to help UC thoroughly assess applications, provide anti-bias training for application readers and strengthen supports to help students complete their degrees. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of bias


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1581, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1551, in the meaning defined above


circa 1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bias

Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle French biais

Learn More About bias

Dictionary Entries Near bias



bias-belted tire

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Statistics for bias

Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Bias.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for bias


bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs How to pronounce bias (audio) \

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.


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.


bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs How to pronounce bias (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on bias

Nglish: Translation of bias for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bias for Arabic Speakers


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