prejudice

noun
prej·​u·​dice | \ ˈpre-jə-dəs How to pronounce prejudice (audio) \

Definition of prejudice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one's rights especially : detriment to one's legal rights or claims
2a(1) : preconceived judgment or opinion
(2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge
b : an instance of such judgment or opinion
c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

prejudice

verb
prejudiced; prejudicing

Definition of prejudice (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to injure or damage by some judgment or action (as in a case of law)
2 : to cause to have prejudice

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Choose the Right Synonym for prejudice

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

Prejudice: For or Against?

Although prejudice, with its connotations of intolerance , implies a negative bias, the word can be used in positive constructions:

I, too, appreciate projects that treat a difficult subject with rigor, although I'll confess to harboring a bit of prejudice toward thing-biographies.
Adam Baer, Harper's, May 2011

That's true for the participial adjective prejudiced as well:

“The question itself as posed in the survey obviously is prejudiced in favor of the program,” said Tod Story, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada.
Neal Morton, Las Vegas Review Journal, 2 Aug. 2016

In negative constructions, prejudice and prejudiced often precede against:

Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob Walker on Tuesday ruled that claims of juror misconduct by former House Speaker Mike Hubbard failed to show that the jury was prejudiced against Hubbard.
Mike Cason, AL.com, 19 Oct. 2016

Examples of prejudice in a Sentence

Noun But today most black Americans not hampered by poverty or prejudice take for granted their right to study Italian, listen to Britney Spears or opera, play in the NHL, eat Thai food, live anywhere, work anywhere, play anywhere, read and think and say anything. — Stephan Talty, Mulatto America, 2003 It is easy to suppose at this late date that there is barely any overt racism left in the United States,  … Kennedy's catalog of mundane cases of explicit anti-black prejudice provides ample illustration of what lurks beneath the surface politeness of many whites. — John McWhorter, New Republic, 14 Jan. 2002 The boundaries between hate and prejudice and between prejudice and opinion and between opinion and truth are so complicated and blurred that any attempt to construct legal and political fire walls is a doomed and illiberal venture. — Andrew Sullivan, New York Times Magazine, 26 Sept. 1999 When my mother, who, unlike my father, was Jewish, encountered unpleasant social prejudice during my high-school years, I acquired a second marginal identity. — Carl E. Schorske, Thinking with History, 1998 The organization fights against racial prejudice. religious, racial, and sexual prejudices We tend to make these kinds of decisions according to our own prejudices. He has a prejudice against fast-food restaurants. Verb Paul Revere … engraved the drawing and printed hundreds of vividly colored copies, which traveled throughout the colonies. Well might one judge at Captain Preston's trial complain that "there has been a great deal done to prejudice the People against the Prisoner." — Hiller B. Zobel, American Heritage, July/August 1995 My friends would have had me delay my departure, but fearful of prejudicing my employers against me by such want of punctuality at the commencement of my undertaking, I persisted in keeping the appointment. — Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey, 1847 all the bad stories I had heard about the incoming CEO prejudiced me against him even before the first meeting
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun What about Lord Massen, who with his potent mix of prejudice and political capital seems hardest to vanquish? Amanda Whiting, Vulture, "The Nevers Series Premiere Recap: Who Are the Touched?," 11 Apr. 2021 The Mongols have been ill-served by history, the victims of an unfortunate mixture of prejudice and perplexity. Maxwell Carter, WSJ, "‘The Horde’ Review: Path of Khans," 9 Apr. 2021 Advocacy groups have said the term encourages bigotry amid a backdrop of rising prejudice and violence against Asian-Americans. cleveland, "Very few coronavirus vaccine doses are going to waste in Ohio: Capitol Letter," 30 Mar. 2021 On the other hand, AI can legitimize existing prejudice and bias under a veneer of innovation. Eugene Chuvyrov, Forbes, "Biased Data, Biased Decisions," 19 Mar. 2021 These days are focused on commemorating victims, and talking about the dangers of anti-Semitism, prejudice and hatred toward other people. Katarzyna Markusz, sun-sentinel.com, "As Holocaust survivors dwindle, a proposal emerges for a day devoted to them," 17 Mar. 2021 Ultimately, that is the best way to fight back against prejudice and violence. Julie Ae Kim, Harper's BAZAAR, "Political Solidarity Is A Solution to Attacks Against Asian Americans," 4 Mar. 2021 Asked later about the need for greater Asian representation in the media, especially at a time of rising prejudice and violence, Zhao advocated compassion. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Golden Globes' best post-show quotes: Jason Sudeikis reacts to Don Cheadle's wrap-up signal," 1 Mar. 2021 Although there is still a lot of prejudice and erroneous stereotypes about us, the change is happening. Michella Oré, Glamour, "Black Women From Around the World Share What Beauty Means to Them," 25 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Defense counsel moved for a delay of the trial and a change of venue to a different county, arguing that this information would prejudice the jury. CNN, "Our system worked...this time," 20 Apr. 2021 Cahill ruled that any value of introducing those six incidents to prove Chauvin's guilt in Floyd's death would be outweighed by the potential to unfairly prejudice the jury. Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY, "Derek Chauvin used force against arrestees 6 other times. The jury in the George Floyd case won't hear about it.," 1 Apr. 2021 That includes having a conflict of interest and making statements that could prejudice an eventual prosecution. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Complaint: Lucido's previous attacks on Whitmer make impartial investigation impossible," 29 Mar. 2021 To those skeptical of the police account, this was an attempt to prejudice the public’s view of a dead man with information that wasn’t relevant to the actual encounter. al, "$2.5 million settlement in Alabama police shooting, gun found at hospital left unresolved," 23 Mar. 2021 Evelio Grillo, the son of Afro-Cuban cigar makers, writes about overcoming his own family’s fear of and prejudice against Black people. Stephania Taladrid, The New Yorker, "The Scholar Who Chronicled the Afro-Latino Experience," 20 Mar. 2021 Kempson was granted name suppression after he was convicted of Millane's murder in order not to prejudice the jury at his upcoming trials this year. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Man who killed British backpacker Grace Millane abused two other women before her death," 21 Dec. 2020 These people can’t or won’t stop trying to prejudice their children against their former partner. Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The Atlantic, "Can Children Be Persuaded to Love a Parent They Hate?," 24 Nov. 2020 These estimates can prejudice the risk profile of a country, especially if the lead rating analyst is pessimistic about the country’s economic outlook. Misheck Mutize, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s post-Covid debt crisis is being aggravated by unreliable data and global ratings agencies," 23 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prejudice.' 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 prejudice

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prejudice

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin praejudicium previous judgment, damage, from prae- + judicium judgment — more at judicial

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Time Traveler for prejudice

Time Traveler

The first known use of prejudice was in the 13th century

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Statistics for prejudice

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prejudice.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prejudice. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for prejudice

prejudice

noun

English Language Learners Definition of prejudice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an unfair feeling of dislike for a person or group because of race, sex, religion, etc.
: a feeling of like or dislike for someone or something especially when it is not reasonable or logical

prejudice

verb

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

: to cause (someone) to have an unfair feeling of dislike for someone or something
formal : to have a harmful effect on (something, such as a legal case)

prejudice

noun
prej·​u·​dice | \ ˈpre-jə-dəs How to pronounce prejudice (audio) \

Kids Definition of prejudice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a liking or dislike for one rather than another especially without good reason She has a prejudice against department stores.
2 : a feeling of unfair dislike directed against an individual or a group because of some characteristic (as race or religion)
3 : injury or damage to a person's rights

prejudice

verb
prejudiced; prejudicing

Kids Definition of prejudice (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to cause to have an unfair dislike of The incident prejudiced them against the company.
2 : to cause damage to (as a person's rights) Newspaper stories prejudiced the upcoming trial.

prejudice

noun
prej·​u·​dice | \ ˈpre-jə-dəs How to pronounce prejudice (audio) \

Legal Definition of prejudice

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : injury or detriment to one's legal rights or claims (as from the action of another): as
a : substantial impairment of a defendant's ability to defend the court found no prejudice to the defendant by the lengthy delay in bringing charges
b : tendency for a decision on an improper basis (as past conduct) by a trier of fact whether an ex parte communication to a deliberating jury resulted in any reasonable possibility of prejudice to the defendantNational Law Journal
c : implied waiver of rights and privileges not explicitly retained District Court erred in attaching prejudice to prisoner's complaint for injunctive reliefNational Law Journal
2 : a final and binding decision (as an adjudication on the merits) that bars further prosecution of the same cause of action or motion dismisses this case with prejudice the dismissal was without prejudice
3a : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics the Constitution does not prohibit laws based on prejudice per se— R. H. Bork
b : an attitude or disposition (as of a judge) that prevents impartiality that the judge before whom the matter is pending has a personal bias or prejudice…against himU.S. Code

prejudice

transitive verb
prejudiced; prejudicing

Legal Definition of prejudice (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to injure or damage the rights of by some legal action or prejudice if the joinder of offenses or defendants…appears to prejudice a defendant or the governmentFederal Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 14
2 : to injure or damage (rights) by some legal action or prejudice that the denial prejudiced his right to a fair trial this clause does not prejudice other rights

History and Etymology for prejudice

Noun

Old French, from Latin praejudicium previous judgment, damage, from prae- before + judicium judgment

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