discriminate

verb
dis·​crim·​i·​nate | \ di-ˈskri-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce discriminate (audio) \
discriminated; discriminating

Definition of discriminate

transitive verb

1a : to mark or perceive the distinguishing or peculiar features of Depth perception may be defined as the ability to appreciate or discriminate the third dimension …— H. G. Armstrong
b : distinguish, differentiate discriminate hundreds of colors
2 : to distinguish by discerning or exposing differences : to recognize or identify as separate and distinct discriminate right from wrong especially : to distinguish from another like object discriminate the individual voices in the choir

intransitive verb

1a : to make a distinction discriminate among historical sources discriminates between literary fiction and popular fiction
b : to use good judgment
2 : to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit discriminate in favor of your friends discriminate against a certain nationality

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Did You Know?

Although many methods or motives for discriminating are unfair and undesirable (or even illegal), the verb itself has a neutral history. English speakers borrowed it from the past participle of the Latin verb discriminare, itself from the verb discernere, meaning "to distinguish between." "Discernere," in turn, was formed by combining the prefix dis- and cernere ("to sift"). Other descendants of "discernere" include "discern" and "discernible" (as you no doubt guessed), "discreet," and "indiscretion." In addition, the root "cernere" gives us "concern," "certain," "decree," and even "secret."

Examples of discriminate in a Sentence

The school is not allowed to discriminate. the human eye can discriminate between very slight gradations of color
Recent Examples on the Web With respect to undergrads, however, instructors have very little reason to discriminate in grading — and plenty of incentives not to. Musa Al-gharbi, National Review, "Ideological Discrimination in Academia Is More Complicated than You Think," 9 Sep. 2019 The statistical information does not constitute the requisite ‘stark evidence leading to the inescapable conclusion’ that the City Defendants acted with the intent to discriminate against Plaintiffs based on their race,’’ Acosta wrote. oregonlive, "Judge throws out Fontaine Bleau’s discrimination suit against city of Portland, state liquor control commission," 6 Sep. 2019 Innclusive requires nearly all of its properties to be instantly bookable, which cuts down on hosts' ability to discriminate. NBC News, "Niche home-sharing sites opening doors for minorities," 4 Sep. 2019 Some private clubs, however, have attracted serious controversy with respect to overtly discriminating membership policies. SI.com, "Why Private Golf Clubs Are Legally Still Able to Discriminate Against Women," 1 July 2019 Age is no excuse to discriminate or hold prejudice against someone. Erika W. Smith, refinery29.com, "These Powerful Photos Show Trans Lives In America," 20 June 2019 Shareholders have begun to discriminate this month, marking down Germany and Japan, both of which export a lot of highly profitable equipment to China. James Mackintosh, WSJ, "Three Things to Think About if You Fear a Slowdown," 12 Feb. 2019 The findings raise questions about the security of our most private information in an age where employers, insurers and advertisers can use data to discriminate or target certain categories of people. Marie C. Baca, Washington Post, "These apps may have told Facebook about the last time you had sex," 10 Sep. 2019 The findings raise questions about the security of the most private information in an age when employers, insurers and advertisers can use data to discriminate or target certain categories of people. Anchorage Daily News, "Apps may tell Facebook about last time users had sex, study finds," 10 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discriminate.' 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 discriminate

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for discriminate

Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare, from discrimin-, discrimen distinction, from discernere to distinguish between — more at discern

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Statistics for discriminate

Last Updated

1 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for discriminate

The first known use of discriminate was in 1615

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More Definitions for discriminate

discriminate

verb
How to pronounce discriminate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of discriminate

: to unfairly treat a person or group of people differently from other people or groups
somewhat formal : to notice and understand that one thing is different from another thing : to recognize a difference between things

discriminate

verb
dis·​crim·​i·​nate | \ di-ˈskri-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce discriminate (audio) \
discriminated; discriminating

Kids Definition of discriminate

1 : to unfairly treat a person or group differently from other people or groups It is against the law to discriminate on the basis of race.
2 : to be able to tell the difference between things He can discriminate among the birds by their calls.

discriminate

verb
dis·​crim·​i·​nate | \ dis-ˈkrim-ə-ˌnāt How to pronounce discriminate (audio) \
discriminated; discriminating

Medical Definition of discriminate

transitive verb

: to respond selectively to (a stimulus)

intransitive verb

: to respond selectively the capacity of organisms to discriminate— J. A. Swets

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discriminate

intransitive verb
dis·​crim·​i·​nate | \ dis-ˈkri-mə-ˌnāt How to pronounce discriminate (audio) \
discriminated; discriminating

Legal Definition of discriminate

: to make a difference in treatment or favor on a basis other than individual merit especially : to make a difference in treatment on a basis prohibited by law (as national origin, race, sex, religion, age, or disability) — see also bona fide occupational qualification, equal protection, reverse discrimination, suspect class, Civil Rights Act of 1964

Other Words from discriminate

discrimination \ dis-​ˌkri-​mə-​ˈnā-​shən How to pronounce discrimination (audio) \ noun

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Comments on discriminate

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