dis·​crim·​i·​na·​to·​ry | \ di-ˈskri-mə-nə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce discriminatory (audio) , -ˈskrim-nə- \

Definition of discriminatory

2 : applying or favoring discrimination in treatment

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Other Words from discriminatory

discriminatorily \ di-​ˌskri-​mə-​nə-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce discriminatory (audio) , -​ˌskrim-​nə-​ \ adverb

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 Jenner, a Republican, supported Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election but later criticized his administration for some discriminatory actions against transgender people. NBC News, "Caitlyn Jenner says transgender girls in women's sports is 'unfair'," 3 May 2021 Unbeaten and yet unqualified, Malathaat is the latest victim of the Derby’s discriminatory point system. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "The Kentucky Derby would be more fair, more fun and more definitive with fillies," 1 May 2021 The stark divide between cities reflects both modern pressures, like displacement and a dearth of affordable housing, plus the legacy of blatantly discriminatory practices like redlining. Lauren Hepler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Palo Alto's housing debate is a battle over Silicon Valley segregation," 1 May 2021 This year, Evanston, Ill., became the first U.S. city to approve a system of compensating Black residents or their descendants who suffered from discriminatory zoning ordinances between 1919 and 1969, according to the city. Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "Why Black Homeownership Lags Badly in Minneapolis," 1 May 2021 As a co-defendant and partner in the Alamo project, the city has the latitude to argue against the GLO on its discriminatory arguments against Tap Pilam, for example. Elaine Ayala, San Antonio Express-News, "Ayala: In court, the city of San Antonio can at least attempt to be on the right side of history," 29 Apr. 2021 Rather, white employees must call out and object to discriminatory statements, jokes, and stereotypes, unfair standards or criteria used when making selection decisions, and other forms of unequal treatment. Eric Bachman, Forbes, "$11.5 Million Settlement Reached In Racial Glass Ceiling Case Against Kaiser," 28 Apr. 2021 Experience Fayetteville posted a statement to Twitter March 31 denouncing the legislation, describing it as discriminatory and harming the state's LGBTQ community. Stacy Ryburn, Arkansas Online, "Cyclocross events still on with new organizer, Fayetteville tourism bureau says," 27 Apr. 2021 Such a policy has never been adopted, and nonpartisan voter advocates say a patchwork of state ID laws remains inherently discriminatory. Devin Dwyer, ABC News, "Crunch time for voter ID clinics as states tighten election laws," 27 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for discriminatory

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The first known use of discriminatory was in 1745

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Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Discriminatory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/discriminatory. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for discriminatory



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 How to pronounce discriminatory (audio) \

Kids Definition of discriminatory

: showing discrimination : being unfair discriminatory work policies


dis·​crim·​i·​na·​to·​ry | \ dis-ˈkri-mə-nə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce discriminatory (audio) \

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 How to pronounce discriminatory (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on discriminatory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for discriminatory

Nglish: Translation of discriminatory for Spanish Speakers

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