prejudice

noun
prej·u·dice | \ ˈpre-jə-dəs \

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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Synonyms & Antonyms for prejudice

Synonyms: Noun

bias, favor, one-sidedness, partiality, partisanship, ply

Synonyms: Verb

bias, poison, turn

Antonyms: Noun

impartiality, neutrality, objectivity, open-mindedness, unbiasedness

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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

Tesla is also being sued by former factory workers who allege a pattern of racial prejudice. Alex Davies, WIRED, "Tesla Ramps Up Model 3 Production and Predicts Profits This Fall," 2 May 2018 Franklin’s friendliness masks both quiet desperation and flashes of prejudice that are all the more cutting coming from such an apparently kindly man. Asher Elbein, The Atlantic, "The Terror Is More Than a Chilling Monster Show," 1 May 2018 And even a whiff of racial prejudice would be political suicide in a country where 20% of citizens are immigrants (compared with 13% in the United States) and the native-born are obsessed with being nice. The Economist, "Anti-elitist politicians in Canada are courting immigrants," 19 Apr. 2018 Tiger was different from Jack and the other greats because of the Masters' history of racial prejudice. Bill Livingston, cleveland.com, "Masters 2018: Tiger Woods and the ghosts of Masters past -- Bill Livingston," 5 Apr. 2018 The 30,000-person march emerged from an act of prejudice: 28-year-old Luca Traini went on a shooting rampage through Macerata, Italy, targeting black migrants and immigrants, wounding at least six, though all survived their injuries. Jordan Anderson, Teen Vogue, "Italians Protest Racism and Fascism After Attack on Black Migrants," 12 Feb. 2018 But the deep well of prejudice against black hair is just beginning to be drained. Marina Lopes, Washington Post, "Black Brazilians are ditching hair straighteners and white standards of beauty," 19 June 2018 Chinese officials have long complained that Western media dominate global discourse and harbour prejudice against China. The Economist, "China is spending billions on its foreign-language media," 14 June 2018 Myles said of the prejudice against American grape DNA. Kevin Begos, Smithsonian, "The Quest to Grow the First Great American Wine Grape," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Chinese foreign ministry said in December that Turnbull's remarks were prejudiced against China and had poisoned the atmosphere of China-Australia relations. Rod Mcguirk, Fox News, "Australia bans covert foreign interference in politics," 28 June 2018 The group insist the police investigators are prejudiced, owing to their Muslim faith, and that the men arrested are innocent. Steve George, CNN, "Rape cases spark political protest movement in India," 16 Apr. 2018 The Chinese foreign ministry said in December that Turnbull's remarks were prejudiced against China and had poisoned the atmosphere of China-Australia relations. Rod Mcguirk, Fox News, "Australia bans covert foreign interference in politics," 28 June 2018 The stun belt and leg braces that Arias wore during trial (as do most murder defendants) violated her constitutional rights and may have prejudiced the jury. Michael Kiefer, azcentral, "First look: Jodi Arias' defense attorneys file 342-page brief in conviction appeal," 6 July 2018 Manafort’s attorneys are asking the judge to prohibit prosecutors from mentioning his work for the Trump campaign, arguing that linking him to Trump would unfairly prejudice the jury. Editors, USA TODAY, "Capital Gazette shooting, ESPN Body Issue, Toys R Us: 5 things to know Friday," 29 June 2018 What truly paved the way for Trump is the long history of Republican pandering to prejudice. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Maureen Dowd echoes conservatives by blaming Obama for Trump.," 4 June 2018 Is the Hall of Fame prejudiced, or was baseball prejudiced and racist? Josh Rottenberg, latimes.com, "Exclusive: Producer Bill Mechanic on his scorched-earth resignation from the motion picture academy's board of governors," 19 Apr. 2018 The Chinese foreign ministry said in December that Turnbull's remarks were prejudiced against China and had poisoned the atmosphere of China-Australia relations. Rod Mcguirk, The Christian Science Monitor, "Australia approves bill to make foreign influence on politics more transparent," 26 June 2018

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

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

Verb

see prejudice entry 1

Noun

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

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Learn More about prejudice

Statistics for prejudice

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prejudice

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

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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

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

prejudice

noun
prej·u·dice | \ ˈpre-jə-dəs \

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 \

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

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