discrimination

noun
dis·​crim·​i·​na·​tion | \ di-ˌskri-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce discrimination (audio) \

Definition of discrimination

1a : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment racial discrimination
b : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually
2 : the quality or power of finely distinguishing the film viewed by those with discrimination
3a : the act of making or perceiving a difference : the act of discriminating a bloodhound's scent discrimination
b psychology : the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently

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Other Words from discrimination

discriminational \ di-​ˌskri-​mə-​ˈnā-​shnəl How to pronounce discriminational (audio) , -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for discrimination

discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen mean a power to see what is not evident to the average mind. discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art). the discernment to know true friends discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent. the discrimination that develops through listening to a lot of great music perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling). a novelist of keen perception into human motives penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial. lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy. a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment. a director of reliable box-office acumen

Discriminating Among Meanings of Discrimination

Discrimination has senses with neutral, positive, and negative connotations. On the one hand, it can refer to "the act (or power) of distinguishing" or to "good taste, refinement." These meanings, sometimes reinforced with modifiers (as in a fine or a nice discrimination), stress an ability to perceive differences as an index of unusual intelligence. On the other hand, when the perception of difference is marked by invidious distinction or hostility, the word (often followed by against) takes on very negative overtones, as in the senses "act of discriminating categorically rather than individually" (discrimination against women, age discrimination) and "a prejudiced outlook or course of action" (racial discrimination). The original, neutral sense of discrimination, "the act of distinguishing," came into English by the early 17th century, followed by the positive one associated with superior discernment in the 18th century. Discrimination in the "prejudice" sense has been in use since the early 19th century, almost 200 years ago.

Examples of discrimination in a Sentence

The law prohibits discrimination in hiring. He sued the company for age discrimination. the animal's impressive scent discrimination
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Recent Examples on the Web

Enraged by the gains that were made, the conservative establishment that had upheld slavery, segregation, discrimination, and inequality in general, vowed to re-establish their power. Alicia Garza, Marie Claire, "Can We Have a Conversation About Abortion Bans and the South?," 29 May 2019 Does your company provide such companies the ability to avoid traffic discrimination, and if so, under what financial and operational conditions? Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Wireless throttling: Senators ask four major carriers about video slowdowns," 15 Nov. 2018 The policy change still went forward, though companies have had some success fighting trans and LGBTQ discrimination elsewhere, such as when protests by PayPal and others helped to overturn North Carolina’s bathroom bill. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "Apple, Google, Facebook, and others push back on Trump transgender policy," 1 Nov. 2018 The glass is one of Skvarla and Conrad's personal favorites, made in Mexico by artisans with physical disabilities who have struggled to get jobs elsewhere due to discrimination. Danielle Tullo, House Beautiful, "Lauren Conrad And Hannah Skvarla Of The Little Market Are Changing The World," 11 Dec. 2018 Sikhs suffered discrimination during recent years of conflict and Taliban rule, and their numbers have shrunk from tens of thousands to less than 1,000. Sayed Salahuddin, BostonGlobe.com, "Spate of attacks in eastern Afghanistan marks push by Islamic State militants," 11 July 2018 In turn, this may require companies to adjust their algorithms again to avoid discrimination. The Economist, "How an algorithm may decide your career," 21 June 2018 Those federal laws include Title IX, which outlaws discrimination based on gender in federally funded educational settings. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Amid rampant sexual harassment in science, academies aren’t ejecting abusers," 12 June 2018 After the state's Civil Rights Commission found that his conduct constituted unlawful discrimination, Phillips decided to fight back. Jay Willis, GQ, "Ted Cruz Has No Problem Misleading Voters for Even the Faintest Semblance of Praise," 5 June 2018

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

1621, in the meaning defined at sense 3a

History and Etymology for discrimination

see discriminate

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Statistics for discrimination

Last Updated

2 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for discrimination

The first known use of discrimination was in 1621

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More Definitions for discrimination

discrimination

noun

English Language Learners Definition of discrimination

: the practice of unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people
: the ability to recognize the difference between things that are of good quality and those that are not
: the ability to understand that one thing is different from another thing

discrimination

noun
dis·​crim·​i·​na·​tion | \ di-ˌskri-mə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce discrimination (audio) \

Kids Definition of discrimination

1 : the practice of unfairly treating a person or group differently from other people or groups of people The law prohibits discrimination against the disabled.
2 : the ability to see differences Police use a dog's discrimination of smells.

discrimination

noun
dis·​crim·​i·​na·​tion | \ dis-ˌkrim-ə-ˈnā-shən How to pronounce discrimination (audio) \

Medical Definition of discrimination

: the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently : differentiation

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Comments on discrimination

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