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 But the cluster of communities west of Boston also has an aging population, scarce affordable housing, inadequate transportation options, rising income inequality and homelessness, and a wide disparity in educational outcomes. John Laidler,, "Report finds abundant strengths, pressing challenges in MetroWest," 22 Jan. 2020 Protest music has existed for centuries, through the ages of slavery, world wars, and civil rights, fueling movements risen from racist violence, gender inequality, and opposition to the Trump administration. Anjana Pawa, Teen Vogue, "10 Best Protest Songs Of All Time," 17 Jan. 2020 Mirroring the decline of Social Democrats across Europe, France’s Socialists failed to capitalize on anger over globalization and rising inequality, ceding those issues especially to far-right populists. New York Times, "A New Home for French Socialists, on Paris’s Periphery," 12 Jan. 2020 To Paltrow, the discussions around harassment and gender inequality are still very much in their infancy. Harper's BAZAAR, "Gwyneth Paltrow Gets Real About Past Relationships, Her Place in the #MeToo Movement, and Why She Quit Acting for Good," 7 Jan. 2020 Rising economic inequality and the creation of monopolistic megacorporations also threaten democracy. Ganesh Sitaraman, The New Republic, "The Collapse of Neoliberalism," 23 Dec. 2019 And there are enormous public concerns about issues like the costs of health care and housing, as well as rising inequality and corporate greed, which the Democrats will rightly emphasize in the general election. By John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "What Does a Strong Jobs Report Mean for Trump’s Chances in 2020?," 7 Dec. 2019 Gender inequality is not limited to higher education. Beatrice Akala, Quartz Africa, "Fixing policy isn’t enough to keep girls in school in Kenya and South Africa," 7 Nov. 2019 While largely positive, the photographs in the issue also find ways to signal the gender inequalities and power imbalances that remain ingrained in countries around the world. Sarah Todd, Quartzy, "National Geographic’s new issue shows how the world looks through women’s eyes," 26 Oct. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for inequality

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inequality.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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How to pronounce inequality (audio)

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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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).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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