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 However, on July 3, 2019, California became the first state to sign the Crown Act into law, prohibiting discrimination against natural hair and protective styles in schools and workplaces. Glamour, "The Crown Act: Every State That’s Passed Legislation Banning Hair Discrimination," 22 Sep. 2020 For example, asked if there is discrimination against Black Americans, 82% surveyed by phone said yes but only 73% surveyed online said yes. Peter Coy, Bloomberg.com, "Higher Earners Are More Likely to Be ‘Shy’ Trump Voters," 21 Sep. 2020 And a majority of them say there has been too much recent attention given to issues of discrimination against Black people. Anthony Salvanto, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, CBS News, "Florida race tightens and Trump has edge over Biden in Texas — Battleground Tracker poll," 20 Sep. 2020 Bryan Turner, who is Black, sued the city and the Philadelphia Police Department this week in federal court, claiming systematic discrimination against him. Claudia Lauer, Star Tribune, "Fired, pro-Black Lives Matter officer sues to get job back," 18 Sep. 2020 Recently, some companies started trying to stem discrimination against women in management positions. Martin Abel, The Conversation, "Why female bosses get different reactions than men when they criticize employees," 10 Sep. 2020 An analysis of the ways discrimination against African Americans still proliferates despite the dismantling of Jim Crow laws. Washington Post, "Washington Post paperback bestsellers," 8 Sep. 2020 In the past century and a half, the United States has enshrined discrimination against ethnic groups into laws and national policies. Getty Images, National Geographic, "America’s long history of scapegoating its Asian citizens," 2 Sep. 2020 This, along with discrimination against voucher holders in less disadvantaged areas, is among the factors that can cleave cities apart racially and economically. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "Democrats Have Failed Urban Black Americans," 27 Aug. 2020

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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Time Traveler for discrimination

Time Traveler

The first known use of discrimination was in 1621

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Statistics for discrimination

Last Updated

25 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Discrimination.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discrimination. Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for discrimination

discrimination

noun
How to pronounce discrimination (audio)

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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