microaggression

noun mi·cro·ag·gres·sion \ ˌmī-krō-ə-ˈgre-shən \
|Updated on: 6 Aug 2018

Definition of microaggression

: a comment or action that subtly and often unconsciously or unintentionally expresses a prejudiced attitude toward a member of a marginalized group (such as a racial minority)
  • A digital photo project run by a Fordham University student about "racial microaggressions" features minority students holding up signs with comments like "You're really pretty … for a dark-skin girl."
  • —Jinnie Spiegler
  • There is a real and worthy conversation taking place in this country now, particularly among young people, around the idea of microaggressions—slight, often unintended discriminatory comments or behaviors.
  • —Charles M. Blow
also : behavior or speech that is characterized by such comments or actions
  • … argues that the power of microaggression lies in its invisibility to the perpetrator, who typically finds it difficult to believe that he or she possesses biased attitudes.
  • —Emily Skop

microaggressive

play \ˌmī-krō-ə-ˈgre-siv\ adjective
    • microaggressive behaviors
    • … the group quite clearly criticized his teaching as microaggressive.
    • —Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt

microaggressor

play \ˌmī-krō-ə-ˈgre-sər\ noun
    • Even "microaggressions" websites themselves would be unobjectionable to some of their critics if they merely made the case that certain phrases and behaviors should be avoided. What these critics find objectionable are two other aspects of "microaggressions" culture: attempts to publicly shame "microaggressors;" and attempts to punish alleged "microaggressors" by reporting them to the authorities.
    • —Conor Friedersdorf

Recent Examples of microaggression from the Web

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

First Known Use of microaggression

1970

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
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