sex·​ism | \ ˈsek-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce sexism (audio) \

Definition of sexism

1 : prejudice or discrimination based on sex especially : discrimination against women
2 : behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sexism

sexist \ ˈsek-​sist How to pronounce sexist (audio) \ adjective or noun

Examples of sexism in a Sentence

the problem of sexism in language

Recent Examples on the Web

There have been four female Supreme Court Justices, and zero female presidents—always a fun fact for those who feel sexism does not exist in America. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why We Need a Tough President Like Kamala Harris," 9 May 2019 Outraged by record-industry sexism in 1976, Ann Wilson of Heart wrote a poem expressing the pain and humiliation of workplace harassment. Marc Myers, WSJ, "The Rage Behind Heart’s ‘Barracuda’," 8 May 2019 Earlier this year, a detailed insider report from a former employee explored the studio’s rigid culture of sexism, which systematically kept women away from advancement or leadership positions while protecting men who harassed or abused them. Bijan Stephen, The Verge, "Pixar hires its second female feature director," 29 Nov. 2018 The temptation is to write Debbie’s response off to resentment (Debbie’s ex-husband cheated on her with Ruth), selfishness, naïveté or internalized sexism. James Poniewozik, kansascity, "Netflix’s ‘Glow’ brings #MeToo to the 1980s," 3 July 2018 In 2017, Jimmy Kimmel made some progressive statements, addressing the elephant in the room about Harvey Weinstein and praising the women who were standing up against sexism. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Kevin Hart Had an Emotional Response to the News He's Hosting the Oscars," 5 Dec. 2018 Photo by Jaime Lawson/Getty Images for USTA The US Open might be over for Serena Williams, who lost the women’s singles final Saturday evening, but her fight against sexism in sports is not. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Watch: Serena Williams calls out sexism in tennis after US Open loss," 9 Sep. 2018 When the band won the best international band award at the VO5 NME Awards 2018 - beating out the likes of the Foo Fighters, the National, the Killers and more - the sisters used their victory speech to speak out against industry-wide sexism. Travis M. Andrews,, "Like pretty much every industry, music has a huge gender wage gap — just ask Haim," 14 June 2018 Liani Reyna, the first woman member of the bureau's elite tactical squad, was honored Tuesday with a city award recognizing her fight against sexism and discrimination. Maxine Bernstein,, "Portland police sergeant honored for fighting sexism, discrimination," 3 Apr. 2018

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

1963, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for sexism

sex entry 1 + -ism (as in racism)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sexism

Statistics for sexism

Last Updated

18 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sexism

The first known use of sexism was in 1963

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sexism



English Language Learners Definition of sexism

: unfair treatment of people because of their sex especially : unfair treatment of women


sex·​ism | \ ˈsek-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce sexism (audio) \

Kids Definition of sexism

: distinction and especially unjust distinction based on gender and made against one person or group (as women) in favor of another

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on sexism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sexism

Spanish Central: Translation of sexism

Nglish: Translation of sexism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sexism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sexism

Comments on sexism

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


highly pertinent or appropriate

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!