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 reporters who have been investigating the background of Brett Kavanaugh, the jokes go—reporters who have been, the jokes further go, searching for scandals that are simply not there—are revealing their own silliness, and their own silly bias. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Brett Kavanaugh, Jim Jordan, and the Fog of the Partisan," 13 July 2018 The former Daily Mirror editor launched his damning opinion on why the Three Lions lost to Croatia, and his Arsenal bias was clear for everyone to see. SI.com, "Arsenal-Supporting Twitter Troll Piers Morgan Blames Spurs Players for England's World Cup Exit," 12 July 2018 To eliminate potential bias against Nebergall, the jury will not be informed about his extensive disciplinary record with the sheriff’s office. Marc Freeman, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Trial to open for deputy accused of sexual battery attempt," 10 July 2018 This book helps explain many of the challenges behind human decision-making, and encourages the reader to pressure test how our natural biases and preconceived models often get in the way of making rational predictions and decisions. Sarah Mupo, STAT, "The 39 best health and science books to read this summer," 25 June 2018 Pronin argues that we are primed to mask our own biases. Steve Ayan, Scientific American, "10 Things You Don’t Know About Yourself," 15 May 2018 Both transgressions sparked national outrage, with the Starbucks holding an afternoon of racial-bias training for all employees after the arrests. Katherine Nails, Philly.com, "Consumers, coffee shops see changes after Starbucks incidents - but will they last?," 10 July 2018 In May, Starbucks held antiracial-bias training for thousands of US employees after a worker at another Philadelphia store called police on two black men waiting for a friend. BostonGlobe.com, "Wynn Resorts losing high-profile general counsel," 5 July 2018 The cafe chain held racial-bias training in May in response. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "Starbucks barista is fired for mocking a patron who was stuttering," 5 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The intent was to show that Strzok, was involved in the Russia investigation until a year ago, was biased, and that the investigation itself is a political witch hunt. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The House Judiciary hearings into Russia investigation have become a circus.," 12 July 2018 And according to critics, Snopes is biased to the left. Amar Bhidé, WSJ, "Skepticism Beats Snopes as an Antidote to Fake News," 8 June 2018 Spain, who is also a SportsCenter reporter and an espnW columnist, certainly isn’t biased against the Eagles or Philly fans. Rob Tornoe, Philly.com, "Ex-WIP host Josh Innes suspended, ESPN's Sarah Spain calls out Fanatic producer," 3 May 2018 This biases many of their conclusions, and limits their relevance to some of the most serious issues facing humanity. The Economist, "Economists focus too little on what people really care about," 3 May 2018 Players protesting in an effort to draw attention to criminal and economic systems that are biased against people of color? Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Stick to sports? Cardinals' support of Supreme Court nominee shows NFL's hypocrisy," 10 July 2018 Steele stopped cooperating with the FBI in late October, out of fear that the bureau was biased in Trump’s favor. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "3 Bombshell Claims in the Leaked Testimony on Trump and Russia," 9 Jan. 2018 The involvement of the alcohol industry in the NIH study, and the apparent deterioration of any firewall between funders and the researchers, raises the question of whether the study is biased by design. Julia Belluz, Vox, "The alcohol industry gave the government money to prove moderate drinking is safe," 15 June 2018 The American public now knows that the top levels of the FBI were biased about a Republican candidate for president. Fox News, "Former agent fires back at calls to abolish ICE," 30 June 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

Middle French biais

Verb

see bias entry 1

Adjective

see bias entry 1

Adverb

see bias entry 1

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Statistics for bias

Last Updated

31 Oct 2018

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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