bias

noun
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

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

Ideological uniformity can blind them to their own biases, and a sense of national emergency can lead them to betray their own principles. David French, National Review, "Hands Off the Babylon Bee," 30 July 2019 But Mississippi’s statewide election system endured, as did its structural biases. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Mississippi Quotes John Roberts to Defend Its Racist Election Law," 19 July 2019 But the civil rights audit represents only half of Facebook’s efforts to seek independent review of its potential biases, and the other one has largely gone missing. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A conservative audit of Facebook’s speech policies is running behind schedule," 3 July 2019 Armour, who fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday at Detroit Golf Club, blamed his Big Ten bias for blurring one of college sports' clear battle lines. Greg Levinsky, Detroit Free Press, "This PGA Tour golfer went to Ohio State. He rooted for Michigan in CWS," 27 June 2019 All the boys of BTS are amazingly awesome, but everyone has their bias. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "BTS Members’ Zodiac Signs Will Prove Who You’re REALLY Compatible With," 24 June 2019 Of course, no model is a perfect replica of the planet, and part of using these models to forecast weather requires us to understand and account for their biases. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "The long-awaited upgrade to the US weather forecast model is here," 12 June 2019 The very point of the Health at Every Size movement is to raise awareness of our biases, as medical providers, as journalists, as people. Dara Pettinelli Kapoor, Health.com, "What Nike’s Plus-Size Mannequin Means for All Women, Even Tanya Gold," 11 June 2019 The Vanished Signal That database was larger and more homogeneous than the one that had driven the previous findings, and had been compiled much more systematically, reducing some of its biases just a bit. Quanta Magazine, "New Turmoil Over Predicting the Effects of Genes," 23 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected Trump’s Mideast peace plan, accusing him of being unfairly biased toward Israel. Washington Post, "US spars with key allies at UN over Mideast peace approach," 23 July 2019 Republicans, meanwhile, are eager to elicit testimony that shows the investigation was biased from its inception. Devlin Barrett, BostonGlobe.com, "Hostile witness or Democrats’ hero? Robert Mueller’s past turns before Congress offer important clues," 21 July 2019 The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected Trump's Mideast peace plan, accusing him of being unfairly biased toward Israel, and boycotted last month's conference in Bahrain where the White House launched the economic portion of its plan. NBC News, "Palestinians denounce Trump tweets against local hero Rashida Tlaib," 16 July 2019 The Palestinians have pre-emptively rejected Trump’s Mideast peace plan, accusing him of being unfairly biased toward Israel, and boycotted last month’s conference in Bahrain where the White House launched the economic portion of its plan. Washington Post, "Palestinians denounce Trump tweets against local hero," 15 July 2019 In a case before a federal court, Oracle is arguing that the JEDI procurement process was biased. The Economist, "Amazon is eyeing billions in federal contracts," 11 July 2019 Republicans asked questions about whether the social media platforms’ attempts to monitor content on the site was unfairly biased against conservatives, an issue that Trump has complained about in recent weeks. Jen Kirby, Vox, "5 things you may have missed from the Facebook and Twitter hearings on Capitol Hill," 6 Sep. 2018 The president routinely complains, without evidence, that social media sites are biased against him and other conservatives. Barbara Ortutay, Twin Cities, "Politicians’ tweets could get slapped with warning labels," 27 June 2019 My industry, the financial services industry, is massively biased to begin with. Erika Fry, Fortune, "The A.I. Revolution Won't Come Easy For Companies, Execs Say," 11 June 2019

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

8 Aug 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 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.

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 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

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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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