in·equal·i·ty | \ˌi-ni-ˈkwä-lə-tē \

Definition of inequality 

1 : the quality of being unequal or uneven: such as

a : social disparity

b : disparity of distribution or opportunity

c : lack of evenness

d : the condition of being variable : changeableness

2 : an instance of being unequal

3 : a formal statement of inequality between two quantities usually separated by a sign of inequality (such as <, >, or ≠ signifying respectively is less than, is greater than, or is not equal to)

Examples of inequality in a Sentence

They discussed the problem of inequality between students. He accused the company of inequality in its hiring practices. He has proposed a new system designed to remove inequalities in health care.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Celebrity email hacks have been on the rise over the past few years, including the infamous Sony email hacks that lead to conversations about pay inequality in Hollywood. Anna Millard,, "Hacker Charged For Breaking Into Selena Gomez's Emails," 14 July 2018 Talk about pay inequality, by all means, Burke says. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "Is #MeToo Too Big?," 4 July 2018 This issue of income inequality transcends the demographics of our multicultural state and impacts our neighbors and co-workers alike. miamiherald, "Leigh-Ann Buchanan," 30 June 2018 Frenzied rhetoric about income inequality was a larger theme in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign than in any previous American election. Phil Gramm And, WSJ, "How Income Equality Helped Trump," 24 June 2018 When political candidates talk about income inequality, black people don’t object and offer their pay stubs. Michael Harriot, The Root, "The Root’s Clapback Mailbag: The Longest Clapback Ever," 22 June 2018 California is about economic inequality among the very rich and everybody else. Fox News, "President Trump, Kim Jong Un set to meet in Singapore for historic summit," 7 June 2018 Notwithstanding the shaky ethics of a London P.R. firm inflaming a debate about racial and economic inequality in South Africa in order to benefit a rich family with government connections, the Oakbay work was a flagrant conflict of interest. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018 The arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks has put the company at the center of national concerns about racial inequality. Leslie Patton,, "McDonald’s may gain fresh hangout status as Starbucks is rocked by video," 20 Apr. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for inequality

Middle English inequalite, from Latin inaequalitat-, inaequalitas, from inaequalis unequal, from in- + aequalis equal

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Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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The first known use of inequality was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for inequality



English Language Learners Definition of inequality

: an unfair situation in which some people have more rights or better opportunities than other people


in·equal·i·ty | \ˌi-ni-ˈkwä-lə-tē \
plural inequalities

Kids Definition of inequality

: the quality of being unequal or uneven : lack of equality The laws are aimed to end educational inequality.

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Comments on inequality

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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