lookism

noun
look·​ism | \ˈlu̇-ki-zəm \
variants: or less commonly looksism \ ˈlu̇k-​si-​zəm \

Definition of lookism 

: prejudice or discrimination based on physical appearance and especially physical appearance believed to fall short of societal notions of beauty

Keep scrolling for more

Lookism and Discrimination

There are a lot of -isms in the English language but most people overlook lookism. It describes the prejudice or discrimination people have toward others because of their appearances. People first used the word in the late 1970s in reference to how people were viewing others who were heavier set. Today the panorama of lookism extends from the "overly" beautiful actor or actress to the homely child. Economists, sociologists, and psychologists alike pay close attention to the lookism that occurs in everyday life and examine how it affects people and society as a whole.

Examples of lookism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Even newborn babies prefer attractive to nonattractive faces, which means lookism may be genetic, said Michael Cunningham, a psychologist and expert on the dynamics of attraction at the University of Louisville. Alfred Lubrano, Philly.com, "After complaints, Ratemyprofessors.com does away with its 'hotness' ratings," 11 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lookism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of lookism

1978, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lookism

Listen to Our Podcast about lookism

Statistics for lookism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lookism

The first known use of lookism was in 1978

See more words from the same year

Comments on lookism

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

WORD OF THE DAY

full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!