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

Last month, California and New York became the first two states to ban discrimination based on natural hairstyles, such as braids, Bantu knots, twists and locs. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Georgia school faces backlash over display of 'appropriate' and 'inappropriate' black hairstyles," 6 Aug. 2019 On Thursday, a bill was introduced in the Wisconsin State Assembly that aims to end discrimination based on hairstyles. William Langhorne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Representative introduces act which could end hair discrimination in Wisconsin," 1 Aug. 2019 Yet, an incident of religious discrimination has brought the companies together to affirm a basic value: food is secular. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "The bigotry of one Indian customer has united arch-rivals Zomato and Uber Eats," 1 Aug. 2019 Cathy Thomas was a bold and brilliant Naval Academy grad, one of the first female surface warfare officers despite receiving more than her share of discrimination based on her gender and sexuality. Author: Britt Peterson, Anchorage Daily News, "Victims, families and America’s thirst for true-crime stories," 31 July 2019 Texas and other states with a history of racial discrimination previously had to seek approval from a court or the U.S. Justice Department before changing any election laws. Allie Morris, ExpressNews.com, "Judges rule against federal oversight of 2021 Texas election maps," 24 July 2019 The Administration’s sweeping visa ban on citizens from a half-dozen Muslim countries led to charges of religious discrimination. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "The Unbelievable Hypocrisy of Trump’s New “Unalienable Rights” Panel," 9 July 2019 In 2016, Rapinoe knelt during the national anthem in solidarity with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and to protest police brutality and other forms of discrimination. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive.com, "Megan Rapinoe not in starting lineup for USA’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup semifinal game against England," 2 July 2019 In February, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued new guidelines to protect individuals from racial discrimination based on their hairstyle. Jennifer Ford, Essence, "California Votes On Bill To Ban Natural Hair Discrimination," 1 July 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

11 Aug 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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