discrimination

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

Definition of discrimination

1 a :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
2 :the quality or power of finely distinguishing
  • the film viewed by those with discrimination
3 a :the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually
b :prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment
  • racial discrimination

discriminational

play \-shnəl, -shə-nᵊl\ adjective

Examples of discrimination in a Sentence

  1. The law prohibits discrimination in hiring.

  2. He sued the company for age discrimination.

  3. the animal's impressive scent discrimination

Recent Examples of discrimination from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of discrimination

discrimination Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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


DISCRIMINATION Defined for English Language Learners

discrimination

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noun

Definition of discrimination for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

discrimination

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noun dis·crim·i·na·tion \ di-ˌskri-mə-ˈnā-shən \

Definition of discrimination for Students

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.

Medical Dictionary

discrimination

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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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