bias

noun
bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs How to pronounce bias (audio) \

Definition of bias

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : an inclination of temperament or outlook especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice
b : an instance of such prejudice
c : bent, tendency
d(1) : deviation of the expected value of a statistical estimate from the quantity it estimates
(2) : systematic error introduced into sampling or testing by selecting or encouraging one outcome or answer over others
2 : a line diagonal to the grain of a fabric especially : a line at a 45 degree angle to the selvage often utilized in the cutting of garments for smoother fit
3a : a peculiarity in the shape of a bowl that causes it to swerve when rolled on the green in lawn bowling
b : the tendency of a bowl to swerve also : the impulse causing this tendency
c : the swerve of the bowl
4a : a voltage applied to a device (such as a transistor control electrode) to establish a reference level for operation
b : a high-frequency voltage combined with an audio signal to reduce distortion in tape recording
on the bias
1 : diagonally to the grain of a fabric cut the cloth on the bias sleeves cut on the bias
2 : at an angle : diagonally to the fibers of something cut the meat on the bias carrots cut on the bias

bias

verb
biased or biassed; biasing or biassing

Definition of bias (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1 : to give a settled and often prejudiced outlook to his background biases him against foreigners
2 : to apply a slight negative or positive voltage to (something, such as a transistor)

bias

adjective

Definition of bias (Entry 3 of 4)

: diagonal, slanting used chiefly of fabrics and their cut

bias

adverb

Definition of bias (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : diagonally cut cloth bias
2 obsolete : awry

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from bias

Adjective

biasness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bias

Noun

predilection, prepossession, prejudice, bias mean an attitude of mind that predisposes one to favor something. predilection implies a strong liking deriving from one's temperament or experience. a predilection for travel prepossession suggests a fixed conception likely to preclude objective judgment of anything counter to it. a prepossession against technology prejudice usually implies an unfavorable prepossession and connotes a feeling rooted in suspicion, fear, or intolerance. a mindless prejudice against the unfamiliar bias implies an unreasoned and unfair distortion of judgment in favor of or against a person or thing. a strong bias toward the plaintiff

Verb

incline, bias, dispose, predispose mean to influence one to have or take an attitude toward something. incline implies a tendency to favor one of two or more actions or conclusions. I incline to agree bias suggests a settled and predictable leaning in one direction and connotes unfair prejudice. the experience biased him against foreigners dispose suggests an affecting of one's mood or temper so as to incline one toward something. her nature disposes her to trust others predispose implies the operation of a disposing influence well in advance of the opportunity to manifest itself. does fictional violence predispose them to accept real violence?

Bias vs. Biased

Verb

In recent years, we have seen more evidence of the adjectival bias in constructions like “a bias news program” instead of the more usual “a biased news program.” The reason is likely because of aural confusion: the -ed of biased may be filtered out by hearers, which means that bias and biased can sound similar in the context of normal speech. They are not interchangeable, however. The adjective that means “exhibited or characterized by an unreasoned judgment” is biased (“a biased news story”). There is an adjective bias, but it means “diagonal” and is used only of fabrics (“a bias cut across the fabric”).

Examples of bias in a Sentence

Noun

… members of the opinion media will cherry-pick moments from the debate that support their own ideological biases. — Michelle Cottle, New Republic, 16 Oct. 2000 Blatant racial and gender discrimination is just about over, creating a sociological space in which to worry about subtler forms of bias. — Gregg Easterbrook, New Republic, 20 Dec. 1999 Like the printing press before it, the computer has a powerful bias toward amplifying personal autonomy and individual problem-solving. — Katha Pollitt, Nation, 9 Oct. 1995 He showed a bias toward a few workers in particular. Do they have a bias against women? The company was accused of racial bias. The decision was made without bias. She showed no bias toward older clients. a student with a strong bias towards the arts

Verb

Unfortunately, his convictions are not clearly and logically developed; they mostly lurk in the background biasing his reporting. He does not always give the reader a fair chance to follow the arguments of the actors—even those with whom he ardently agrees. — Leonard Silk, New York Times Book Review, 24 Feb. 1980 I don't want to bias you against the movie, but I thought the book was much better. The circumstances could bias the results of the survey.

Adverb

made of fabric cut bias
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ideological bias within the academy is a real problem. Musa Al-gharbi, National Review, "Ideological Discrimination in Academia Is More Complicated than You Think," 9 Sep. 2019 The conservative response to supposed liberal media bias within mainstream journalism wasn’t the creation of better, even-handed press outlets, but right-wing outlets as biased as conservatives imagined the liberal press to be, such as Fox News. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Right Wing’s Cultural Civil War Is a Drag," 9 Sep. 2019 Gender bias, on the other hand, is not as easy to root out. Katie Johnston, BostonGlobe.com, "Women facing ‘massive increase in hostility’ in workplace, #MeToo-era study says," 3 Sep. 2019 Sexist bias is as old as China itself and unlikely to disappear anytime soon, as some of the movie’s older male interviewees make clear with an unrepentant shrug. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘One Child Nation’ is a powerful, painful look at impact of China’s policy," 15 Aug. 2019 Racial bias in machine learning is a problem receiving more and more attention. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Selfie-based blood pressure readings could help equalize health care—if they work on all skin types," 6 Aug. 2019 Each statue is privately funded and placement follows a preset pattern to make sure there is no favoritism or political bias in the process. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "South Dakota’s City of Presidents Unveils Obama Statue," 16 July 2019 Tech bias has been a longtime concern for the right, and Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, frequently mentioned it. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Fighting Big Tech Makes for Some Uncomfortable Bedfellows," 14 July 2019 And one person’s bias is another person’s personalization. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The White House social media summit was full of hypocrisy — and comedy," 12 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Labour, in contrast, is the primary beneficiary of the electoral system, which has historically been biased against the Lib Dems and other smaller parties. Parker Richards, The New Republic, "The Woman Who Could Beat Boris Johnson," 29 July 2019 Business ties don’t automatically bias a scientist’s conclusions. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "The researcher behind the smartphone “horns” study sells posture pillows," 22 June 2019 On the other hand, Facebook, Twitter and Google repeatedly deny that their platforms are biased. Elaine Ou, Twin Cities, "Elaine Ou: Tech companies want out of the censorship business," 14 Aug. 2019 There is no evidence that Google, Facebook, or any other major tech company is biased against conservative employees or conservative content. Shirin Ghaffary, Vox, "Political tension at Google is only getting worse," 2 Aug. 2019 Other congressional panels Tuesday focused on Facebook's plans to bring out a cryptocurrency, the Libra, and allegations that Google is biased against conservatives in search results. NBC News, "U.S. lawmakers take jabs at Amazon, Big Tech in antitrust hearing," 17 July 2019 Critics, including politicians and advocacy groups, say that A.I. is widely biased against people of color and argue that in the wrong hands it could be used for nefarious activities. Fortune, "A.I. Uses Expected to Expand as U.S. Consumers Warm Up to Trading Data for Convenience," 16 July 2019 President Trump on Wednesday reiterated his view that Facebook and other tech giants are biased against him and his followers—claims that the companies have steadfastly denied. Deepa Seetharaman, WSJ, "Facebook’s Zuckerberg Backs Privacy Legislation," 26 June 2019 In their motion, the drug distributors and retail chains said the crucial test is whether a reasonable person would conclude that Polster appeared biased against the defendants. Anchorage Daily News, "Drug companies seek removal of judge in landmark opioid case," 14 Sep. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of bias

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

circa 1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1551, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bias

Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle French biais

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about bias

Statistics for bias

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for bias

The first known use of bias was in 1530

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for bias

bias

noun

English Language Learners Definition of bias

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly
: a strong interest in something or ability to do something

bias

verb

English Language Learners Definition of bias (Entry 2 of 2)

: to have a strong and often unfair influence on (someone or something)

bias

noun
bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs How to pronounce bias (audio) \

Kids Definition of bias

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a seam, cut, or stitching running in a slant across cloth
2 : a favoring of some ideas or people over others : prejudice She has a bias against newcomers.

bias

verb
biased or biassed; biasing or biassing

Kids Definition of bias (Entry 2 of 2)

: to give a prejudiced outlook to Existing ideas may bias his observation of events.

bias

noun
bi·​as | \ ˈbī-əs How to pronounce bias (audio) \

Legal Definition of bias

: a personal and often unreasoned judgment for or against one side in a dispute : prejudice a judge disqualified because of bias

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on bias

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with bias

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bias

Spanish Central: Translation of bias

Nglish: Translation of bias for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bias for Arabic Speakers

Comments on bias

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

WORD OF THE DAY

transposition of initial sounds of words

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!