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

Williamson announced her decision to leave The Rookie earlier this summer, and her allegations of racial discrimination, bullying, and more are still being investigated. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Exclusive: See Nathan Fillion face new dangers in The Rookie season 2 trailer," 3 Sep. 2019 Starkey continued working but has claimed in a lawsuit filed in federal court last month that she was subjected to discrimination, a hostile work environment and retaliation. Arika Herron, Indianapolis Star, "'It's just not right': Fired for her gay marriage, Lynn Starkey is looking for justice," 3 Sep. 2019 Current law prohibits landlords from several categories of discrimination, including income. Jackie Botts, The Mercury News, "Thousands of California renters with Section 8 vouchers can’t use them. What lawmakers are doing about it," 3 Sep. 2019 Often faced with sexist discrimination, without support from a major record label or agent, Ms. Bryant did not come forth as a band leader until middle age. Giovanni Russonello, BostonGlobe.com, "Clora Bryant, trumpeter and pillar of L.A. jazz scene, dies," 1 Sep. 2019 This difference is largely due to discrimination, lack of access to education, and disproportionate poverty. Evelyn Lillemoe / St. Paul Academy, Twin Cities, "ThreeSixty Journalism: Native lacrosse mixes competition and ceremony," 31 Aug. 2019 The lawsuit also calls for Costco to institute training against discrimination, retaliation and harassment. Marcy Oster, sun-sentinel.com, "New Jersey man sues Costco after cashier makes anti-Semitic remarks about him and son," 29 Aug. 2019 Bumble, its main competitor, has attempted to do the same (Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd was a former Tinder co-founder who sued the company for harassment and discrimination, as well as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma in college). Terry Nguyen, Vox, "Frats are throwing parties with Tinder and Bumble. This isn’t exactly new.," 20 Aug. 2019 Often, science was invoked as a justification for colonization, segregation, discrimination, exclusion, sterilization, or extermination. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "How Cultural Anthropologists Redefined Humanity," 19 Aug. 2019

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

8 Sep 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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