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

Synonyms & Antonyms for discriminate

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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 (meaning "to distinguish or differentiate"), which, itself, is derived from the verb discernere, meaning "to distinguish between." Discernere, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix dis- (meaning "apart") 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 The court held by an 8-1 vote that making residents of Puerto Rico ineligible for the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides benefits to older, disabled and blind Americans, did not unconstitutionally discriminate against them. Laura Blasey, Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2022 The court held by an 8-1 vote Thursday that making Puerto Ricans ineligible for the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides benefits to older, disabled and blind Americans, did not unconstitutionally discriminate against them. Mark Sherman, ajc, 21 Apr. 2022 The court held by an 8-1 vote Thursday that making Puerto Ricans ineligible for the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides benefits to older, disabled and blind Americans, did not unconstitutionally discriminate against them. Mark Sherman, Chicago Tribune, 21 Apr. 2022 The court held by an 8-1 vote Thursday that making Puerto Ricans ineligible for the Supplemental Security Income program, which provides benefits to older, disabled and blind Americans, did not unconstitutionally discriminate against them. Mark Sherman, USA TODAY, 21 Apr. 2022 Only Sotomayor, whose parents are from Puerto Rico, dissented from the ruling, writing that Congress should not discriminate against some U.S. citizens just by virtue of their location. Alison Durkee, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2022 Attorney Percy Squire, who made the argument, is representing the Rev. Kenneth L. Simon and other Black Youngstown-area voters who claim that Ohio’s new state legislative and congressional maps discriminate against Black voters. Jeremy Pelzer, cleveland, 11 Apr. 2022 Hamilton scoffed at the idea that the new rules discriminate against renters, arguing that the board has the right to encourage homeowners to live in the community. Washington Post, 31 Mar. 2022 Opponents contend that the measures discriminate against LGBTQ students and educators and violate federal laws meant to prevent discrimination in schools. NBC News, 23 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for discriminate

Time Traveler

The first known use of discriminate was in 1615

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Dictionary Entries Near discriminate

discriminant function

discriminate

discriminating

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Last Updated

27 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Discriminate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discriminate. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for discriminate

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

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 discriminate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on discriminate

Nglish: Translation of discriminate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of discriminate for Arabic Speakers

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