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

Ethiopian-Israelis’ lives have been far from easy in Israel, marked heavily by economic disadvantage and pervasive discrimination that includes hiring bias, random identification checks, and police brutality. Vogue, "Eden Dersso Is the Changing Face of Tel Aviv’s Hip-Hop Scene," 2 Apr. 2019 But accusations that the Supreme Court’s decision reflects anti-Muslim bias are also mistaken. Luke Goodrich, WSJ, "The Supreme Court Isn’t Anti-Muslim," 12 Feb. 2019 Some who saw outright race and gender bias, and others thought something more subtle — but still important — needed to be addressed. Michelle Boorstein, Washington Post, "Prominent progressive D.C. church, accused of racism, tries to move on," 10 July 2018 More than half of the hate crimes reported in California last year involved racial bias, and about 27% involved animus toward black people, the report shows. James Queally, latimes.com, "Hate crimes rise in California for third straight year, state report says," 10 July 2018 There’s so much bias against mental health in general, and for maternal mental health, the stigma issues are enormous. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "The New Postpartum Depression Drug Zulresso Comes With a Catch," 20 Mar. 2019 People who’ve had cultural bias prevent them from having opportunities. Allison Glock, Marie Claire, "The Change Makers: Constance Wu, Ava DuVernay, and Jessica Chastain," 7 Mar. 2019 Amazon employees expressed concerns about law-enforcement agencies potentially abusing the software, which has previously demonstrated racial bias, in an all-hands meeting with Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Andrew Jassy, Gizmodo reported Thursday. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Can Anyone Stop Our Slide into Face-Scanning Dystopia?," 9 Nov. 2018 No one can claim that a regional bias played a role in determining the champion. Andy Staples, SI.com, "‘Strategic Entertainment’ vs. Entertaining Entertainment: The Flip Side of the NFL-CFB Debate," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

To ensure conflicts of interest don’t taint plans for dividing assets, bankruptcy rules also require advisers to disclose all connections, or relationships that could bias an adviser’s work. Tom Corrigan, WSJ, "McKinsey, Turnaround Veteran Alix Set to Face Off in Another Coal Bankruptcy," 12 Nov. 2018 The report could have helped buttress their argument that the government should continue to fund the plane as part of its effort to win the Cold War, but A.E.I. had withheld it until after the Senate voted on the issue so as not to bias the debate. Jonathan Mahler, New York Times, "How One Conservative Think Tank Is Stocking Trump’s Government," 20 June 2018 That none of this information came to light as an October surprise is the fatal flaw in the charge that federal investigators were politically biased against Trump. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Donald Trump Comes Unglued Amid Growing Pressure From Bob Mueller," 21 May 2018 Zuckerberg disagreed with Cruz’s assertion that Facebook was biased against conservatives on its platform or in its workforce. Bloomberg.com, "Zuckerberg Testifies Before Senate Panel," 10 Apr. 2018 Our findings suggest people are more likely to be biased by hunger in negative situations. Jennifer Maccormack, CNN, "When you go from hungry to 'hangry'," 14 June 2018 There’s a problem with the algorithms and the training data being biased, but that’s not the only problem with bias in this technology. Russell Brandom, The Verge, "How should we regulate facial recognition?," 29 Aug. 2018 Chamisa, who has an ability to move crowds with fiery speeches, alleged that Zimbabwe's judicial system is biased in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF party. Farai Mutsaka, Fox News, "AP Interview: Zimbabwe opposition chief warns of flawed vote," 27 July 2018 On whether former Attorney General Loretta Lynch was biased in favor of Mrs. Clinton: Donald J. Trump A.G. Lynch made law enforcement decisions for political purposes...gave Hillary Clinton a free pass and protection. Joshua Jamerson, WSJ, "Trump’s Tweets on the Clinton Email Probe, and What DOJ Report Says," 14 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, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle French biais

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Statistics for bias

Last Updated

18 Apr 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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