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prejudice

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noun prej·u·dice \ ˈpre-jə-dəs \

Definition of prejudice

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
2 a (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

Examples of prejudice in a Sentence

  1. 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 TaltyMulatto America2003
  2. 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 McWhorterNew Republic14 Jan. 2002
  3. 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 SullivanNew York Times Magazine26 Sept. 1999
  4. 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. SchorskeThinking with History1998
  5. The organization fights against racial prejudice.

  6. religious, racial, and sexual prejudices

  7. We tend to make these kinds of decisions according to our own prejudices.

  8. He has a prejudice against fast-food restaurants.

Recent Examples of prejudice from the Web

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.

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

Origin and Etymology of prejudice

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

Synonym Discussion of prejudice

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

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prejudice

play
verb prej·u·dice \ ˈpre-jə-dəs \

Definition of prejudice

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

Examples of prejudice in a Sentence

  1. 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. ZobelAmerican HeritageJuly/August 1995
  2. 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 BrontëAgnes Grey1847
  3. all the bad stories I had heard about the incoming CEO prejudiced me against him even before the first meeting

Recent Examples of prejudice from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of prejudice

prejudice Synonyms


PREJUDICE Defined for English Language Learners

prejudice

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noun

Definition of prejudice for English Language Learners

  • : 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

play
verb

Definition of prejudice for English Language Learners

  • : to cause (someone) to have an unfair feeling of dislike for someone or something

  • : to have a harmful effect on (something, such as a legal case)


PREJUDICE Defined for Kids

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prejudice

play
noun prej·u·dice \ ˈpre-jə-dəs \

Definition of prejudice for Students

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

2

prejudice

verb

Definition of prejudice for Students

prejudiced; prejudicing
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.

Law Dictionary

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prejudice

play
noun prej·u·dice \ ˈpre-jə-dəs \

legal Definition of prejudice

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 defendant
  • National Law Journal
c :implied waiver of rights and privileges not explicitly retained
  • District Court erred in attaching prejudice to prisoner's complaint for injunctive relief
  • National 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
3 a :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 him
  • U.S. Code

Origin and Etymology of prejudice

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


2

prejudice

transitive verb

legal Definition of prejudice

prejudiced; prejudicing
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 government
  • Federal 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


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