dis·crim·i·na·to·ry | \dis-ˈkri-mə-nə-ˌtȯr-ē, -ˈkrim-nə-\

Definition of discriminatory 

2 : applying or favoring discrimination in treatment

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Other Words from discriminatory

discriminatorily \-ˌkri-mə-nə-ˈtȯr-ə-lē, -ˌkrim-nə- \ adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for discriminatory


differential, discriminating, discriminative



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Examples of discriminatory in a Sentence

The law prohibits discriminatory hiring practices. a company that was fined for its discriminatory practices in the hiring of women

Recent Examples on the Web

Its legislature tried to keep it all white, excluding people of color with a host of discriminatory laws. Longreads, "Oregon’s Racist Past," 12 July 2018 The legislation abolishes discriminatory laws under which Pakistan's tribal regions have been governed since British colonial rule. Fox News, "Pakistani president signs bill giving tribesmen equal rights," 1 June 2018 The milestone step comes after both houses of parliament had earlier approved granting equal rights to the tribes that have been governed by discriminatory laws since British colonial rule. Riaz Khan, The Seattle Times, "Pakistan approves bill to merge tribal regions with country," 27 May 2018 The threat to our economy is very real: After North Carolina passed discriminatory laws against transgender individuals, local businesses lost billions of dollars as organizations canceled conferences and events. Anchorage Daily News, "Proposition 1 is discriminatory and would hurt Alaska tourism," 27 Mar. 2018 Three white women denied admission sued the university, saying the policy was discriminatory. Eric Stirgus, ajc, "Court ruling changed Georgia’s approach to race-based college admissions," 3 July 2018 The administration denies that its immigration policies are discriminatory. Abigail Hauslohner And Andrew Ba Tran, chicagotribune.com, "Trump is making inroads in reducing legal immigration," 3 July 2018 But others remain concerned that such admissions policies could be discriminatory. John Eligon, New York Times, "Asian-Americans Face Multiple Fronts in Battle Over Affirmative Action," 16 June 2018 Blanket policies against hiring such veterans could be discriminatory, the commission said, because the military has issued them disproportionately to black, Latino, gay, and disabled veterans. Jennifer Mcdermott, The Christian Science Monitor, "Discharged veterans work to end employment discrimination," 25 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'discriminatory.' 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 discriminatory

1745, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for discriminatory

The first known use of discriminatory was in 1745

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English Language Learners Definition of discriminatory

: not fair : unfairly treating a person or group of people differently from other people or groups of people


dis·crim·i·na·to·ry | \di-ˈskrim-ə-nə-ˌtȯr-ē \

Kids Definition of discriminatory

: showing discrimination : being unfair discriminatory work policies


dis·crim·i·na·to·ry | \dis-ˈkri-mə-nə-ˌtōr-ē \

Legal Definition of discriminatory 

1 : applying discrimination in treatment

2 : having unlawful discrimination as an effect

Other Words from discriminatory

discriminatorily \-ˌkri-mə-nə-ˈtōr-ə-lē \ adverb

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Comments on discriminatory

What made you want to look up discriminatory? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

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