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

Visitors use interactive touchscreens to explore their own attitudes and biases. Washington Post, "Dallas Holocaust museum takes visitors from WWII to today," 31 Aug. 2019 Plaintiffs generally argue they were harmed because the process of ranking and choosing winners from among 462 applications was riddled with mistakes and bias. Ken Ritter, BostonGlobe.com, "Nevada judge gives OK for some new retail pot stores to open," 30 Aug. 2019 In 2014, an organization with the cryptic name Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit against Harvard College on behalf of Asian-American applicants who claimed they had been victims of discrimination and bias. New York Times, "Where Does Affirmative Action Leave Asian-Americans?," 30 Aug. 2019 Ryan Michael Hodge, 38, of 98 Columbus St., was arrested on charges of intimidation based on bigotry or bias and second-degree threatening. Jesse Leavenworth, courant.com, "Manchester man arrested on bias charge after confronting worker with leafblower, police say," 29 Aug. 2019 So what’s going to be the new gender-bias thing NASA needs to start — start? Marsha Ivins, Time, "I'm a Retired Female Astronaut and I Can't Understand the Obsession With 'Gender Diverse' Space Crews," 28 Aug. 2019 Individuals need to be more aware of how our emotions and biases can be exploited with precision and consider what forces might be provoking us to amplify divisive messages. The Editors, Scientific American, "Everyone Is an Agent in the New Information Warfare," 26 Aug. 2019 The sentiment of the new campaign remains the same: there’s still prevalent bias and discrimination that women endure. Tatum Dooley, Teen Vogue, "Reebok Launches "It's A Man's World" Campaign Starring Five Female Creatives," 23 Aug. 2019 Partly, however, India’s addiction to coal stems from government bias. The Economist, "Asia digs up and burns three-quarters of the world’s coal," 22 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Understandably biased Phoenix Mercury fans certainly will say yes after Mitchell dropped a career-high 29 points on the New York Liberty, putting a high-profile exclamation point on a season that began with her being cut coming out of training camp. Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral, "Is Mercury guard Leilani Mitchell now a lock for WNBA's Most Improved Player award?," 28 Aug. 2019 There were multiple words, profanities and symbols that were biased based and general hatred that could be directed towards several different groups. Mary Grace Keller, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "After Marriottsville church vandalized with swastikas and ‘racist’ graffiti, community bands together," 30 July 2019 The Internet Association, a trade group representing social-media and other internet companies, said in a statement ahead of Thursday’s event that its members have no incentive to be biased. Ryan Tracy, WSJ, "Trump’s ‘Social Media Summit’ Airs Grievances Against Big Tech," 11 July 2019 Relatives, who might be biased, should be avoided as interpreters, according to policy. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica, "For generations, Illinois’ child welfare agency has failed to adequately serve Spanish-speaking families with children in its care.," 20 June 2019 What if the probability distribution of letters is biased, so some letters are more likely than others? Quanta Magazine, "The Information Theory of Life," 19 Nov. 2015 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

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

5 Sep 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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