in·​equal·​i·​ty | \ ˌi-ni-ˈkwä-lə-tē How to pronounce inequality (audio) \

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 In a statement to the USA TODAY Network, officials with HUD said this type of discrimination leads to further inequality. Brook Endale, USA TODAY, 13 Sep. 2021 In a statement to the Enquirer, officials with HUD said this type of discrimination leads to further inequality. Brook Endale, The Enquirer, 13 Sep. 2021 But the explosive growth of Americans who now identify as multiracial could also be used to reinforce racial inequality. John Blake, CNN, 4 Sep. 2021 The demonstrations after Floyd’s death were largely peaceful calls to address racial inequality and police brutality that occasionally turned violent., 31 Aug. 2021 One of the many reasons women suffered the most during the pandemic – at work and at home – boils down to inherent inequality in both places. NBC News, 27 Aug. 2021 Her seminal works on economic inequality remain both timeless and timely. Timothy Noah, The New Republic, 26 Aug. 2021 With Britain now grappling with how to confront racial inequality, the styling of Black hair has assumed growing political and cultural resonance, including books, documentaries and advocacy campaigns on the subject. New York Times, 11 Aug. 2021 Leonard has proudly spoken out on issues such as racial inequality and mental health. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, 8 Aug. 2021

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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Time Traveler for inequality

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

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Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Inequality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce inequality (audio) \
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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