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

The situations can then be virtually replicated and standardized for hundreds of employees, eliminating bias while placing employees in positions that best fit their skill sets. Rebekah Tuchscherer, USA TODAY, "Walmart uses virtual reality to test new store managers," 8 July 2019 The appellate court issued a detailed 14-page ruling that warned Judge Troiano against showing bias toward privileged teenagers. New York Times, "Judge Gets Threats After Saying Teenager in Rape Case Was From ‘Good Family’," 8 July 2019 Some of these individuals have claimed, often without real evidence, that companies like Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) harbor bias against conservatives and censor their speech. Oliver Darcy, CNN, "Facebook and Twitter not invited to White House social media summit, sources say," 7 July 2019 The continued research and usage of phages in Eastern bloc countries like Poland and Georgia helped put the nail in the coffin; geopolitical bias made phage research for the Communists. B David Zarley, The Verge, "These superbug-fighting viruses are making a comeback," 5 July 2019 Unfortunately, the media’s antipathy towards Mr. Trump has caused bias to infect social-science reporting. Richard Hanania, WSJ, "Trump, Social Science and Media Bias," 4 July 2019 Dove executive Esi Eggleston Bracey spearheads the CROWN coalition, an alliance of corporate and community organizations that work to highlight bias that pressures women to conform to Eurocentric standards of beauty. CBS News, "California becomes first state to ban discrimination against natural hair," 4 July 2019 Young girls face many unique challenges: pressure to fit a certain persona, obstacles, subliminal bias around learning math, etc. Detroit Free Press, "She’s gotta have IT: Closing the gender gap in MI’s booming tech industry," 3 July 2019 Research shows persistent biases toward black women with natural hair. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "California is about to ban discrimination against black workers with natural hairstyles," 3 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 New quantitative approaches — measures of how biased a map is, and algorithms that can create millions of alternative maps — could help set a concrete standard for how much gerrymandering is too much. Quanta Magazine, "How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering," 4 Apr. 2017 The proposal by the Missouri Republican reflects allegations by others in his party, including President Donald Trump, that the platforms are biased against conservative opinion. Ben Brody, The Mercury News, "Senator wants Facebook, Google to face lawsuits if they show political bias," 19 June 2019 Poor sleep during the experiment, for instance, could have biased the animals’ brains away from criticality, Copelli said. Quanta Magazine, "Do Brains Operate at a Tipping Point? New Clues and Complications," 10 June 2019 President Donald Trump has also frequently targeted the companies, arguing without evidence that they are biased against conservatives and his Administration specifically. Madeleine Joung, Time, "Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple Could Face Antitrust Investigations. How Do Those Work?," 5 June 2019 Even those who don't want to go as far as to say the FBI is biased can pull from what Strzok said in private to try to argue the FBI has at least made big blunders that led to the ongoing Russia investigation. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "Peter Strzok, the symbol of whatever you want him to be in the Russia investigation," 13 July 2018 Only last month it was reported that Amazon had to scrap an internal recruiting tool trained using machine learning because it was biased against female candidates. James Vincent, The Verge, "Google removes gendered pronouns from Gmail’s Smart Compose to avoid AI bias," 27 Nov. 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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Learn More about bias

Statistics for bias

Last Updated

11 Jul 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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