discrimination

noun
dis·​crim·​i·​na·​tion | \ dis-ˌkri-mə-ˈnā-shən \

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 \ -​shnəl , -​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

By curbing liability for discrimination claims, the Senate’s bill explicitly spells out and limits the types of settlements a Congress member would have to cover themselves, CNN reports. Li Zhou, Vox, "Congress seemed determined to tackle its sexual harassment problem. But, the bill is still stalled.," 6 Dec. 2018 Pregnancy discrimination is widespread in corporate America. Natalie Kitroeff, The Seattle Times, "Miscarrying at work: the physical toll of pregnancy discrimination," 26 Oct. 2018 Our health care and our rights to live free from discrimination depend on it. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "It’s not too late to protect reproductive freedom, but you have to act now.," 11 Oct. 2018 New Jersey expanded its civil rights law to protect nursing mothers from discrimination at work, joining 28 states that offer workplace protections. Rebecca Beitsch, The Christian Science Monitor, "All US states now allow breastfeeding in public," 13 July 2018 In that case, long before gay rights were widely accepted, Kennedy and the Court struck down a Colorado ballot initiative that sought to preclude any action to protect gay and lesbian citizens from discrimination. Andrew Cohen, The New Republic, "Anthony Kennedy Was No Moderate," 27 June 2018 The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a brief in the Phoenix case, said Thursday’s ruling took into account the decision in the Colorado baker case and affirmed that local ordinances can protect the LGBT community from discrimination. Erik Larson, Bloomberg.com, "Same-Sex Couples Score Victory in Phoenix Calligraphy Fight," 7 June 2018 The court reiterated the importance of the rights and dignity of LGBT individuals to be free from discrimination. Jewish Journal, "Jewish groups react to Supreme Court religious-liberty case," 5 June 2018 The story added to the continuing #MeToo movement as businesses come under pressure to weed out discrimination and bad behavior. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "Five New CMOs Charged With Boosting Battered Brands in 2019," 24 Dec. 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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Last Updated

13 Jan 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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of discrimination

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

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