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

Essential Meaning of bias

1 : a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly The writer has a strong liberal/conservative bias. [=favors liberal/conservative views] ethnic and racial biases See More ExamplesHe showed a bias toward a few workers in particular. Do they have a bias against women/minorities? The company was accused of racial/gender bias. The decision was made without bias. She showed no bias toward older clients.Hide
2 : a strong interest in something or ability to do something a student with a strong bias towards the arts

Full 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


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)



Definition of bias (Entry 3 of 4)

: diagonal, slanting used chiefly of fabrics and their cut



Definition of bias (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : diagonally cut cloth bias
2 obsolete : awry

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Other Words from bias


biasness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for bias


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


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


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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Critics say the league is hiding other evidence of bias and bad behavior. CBS News, 16 Oct. 2021 The hearing comes a year after a federal appeals court overturned the sentence, ruling that Tsarnaev, now 28, did not get a fair trial because of potential juror bias and the exclusion of evidence during the death penalty phase of the case., 13 Oct. 2021 Emotional safetyism turns a culture of critical review into a culture of confirmation bias and censorship. Benjamin And Jenna Storey, WSJ, 12 Oct. 2021 Following a study that found systemic gender stereotypes stifle many children, Lego, the world's largest toymaker, announced Monday its future products and marketing would be free of gender bias and harmful stereotypes. Tommy Beer, Forbes, 11 Oct. 2021 Actual proof of bias or prejudice is not necessary for the change. Samantha Hendrickson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 Oct. 2021 The agreement has brought, among other things, myriad changes to the way police are taught to interact with the public, which now includes training for crisis intervention and bias-free policing. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, 8 Oct. 2021 The measure also prohibits schools from using instruction materials that promote bias or discrimination toward any group. Dustin Gardiner, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Oct. 2021 In some instances, researchers have found that the larger the language model, the worse the amplification of bias and toxic text. Khari Johnson, Wired, 30 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Hiring managers must learn to de-bias their procedures. Maria Wu, Forbes, 19 Oct. 2021 These complications will bias the results of studies finding a positive association between ESG and corporate returns. Wayne Winegarden, Forbes, 20 Sep. 2021 Central to questioning of potential jurors was the concern that the frenzy around Holmes -- including multiple documentaries and podcasts on her rise and fall -- might bias those who will ultimately determine her fate. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, 31 Aug. 2021 If technology companies don’t address bias themselves, health care leaders must pressure and lean on their vendors to develop responsible approaches. Chris Hemphill, STAT, 7 Aug. 2021 Experts have said the auditors are ignoring standard procedures for post-election reviews and are following processes that could introduce errors and bias into the results of their count. Eric Bradner, CNN, 14 June 2021 These models are used by companies, utilities, and government officials and are thought to bias against low-carbon energy sources. Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 3 Aug. 2021 Activists with the organizations said the social media exchange amounted to bias against people who refuse a COVID-19 shot and those who can’t be vaccinated now, including children under 12. San Diego Union-Tribune, 30 July 2021 Fears of higher taxes could also bias you towards Roth rather than pre-tax retirement plan contributions. Erik Carter, Forbes, 24 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The report also called for more funding to help UC thoroughly assess applications, provide anti-bias training for application readers and strengthen supports to help students complete their degrees. Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 2021 Organizations must emphasize anti-bias training and regularly adapt as knowledge is gained in this area. Doug Lodder, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 As a student affairs professional on college campuses, Beck worked extensively in training and development, anti-bias response and mental heath and wellness. Rebecca Rubin, Variety, 24 Aug. 2021 Ryan said her office’s anti-bias task force is working on the investigation., 14 July 2021 The Roanoke Times reports the group, called Speech First Inc., has already filed a lawsuit on behalf of three students against the school’s anti-bias policies. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 13 July 2021 Mountain Brook schools might take to round out current anti-bias programming or start developing a new program. Rebecca Griesbach |, al, 29 June 2021 By the end of the week, their teacher had hired an equity coach to conduct an anti-racist, anti-bias workshop and invited students and their parents to participate via Zoom. Washington Post, 21 June 2021 Anti-bias controls and metrics can be instantiated in tests applied to AI model performance to determine whether the AI model is adhering to equity requirements. Christopher Bergh, Forbes, 7 June 2021

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.

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First Known Use of bias


1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1628, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1551, in the meaning defined above


1575, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for bias

Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb

Middle French biais

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Learn More About bias

Dictionary Entries Near bias



bias-belted tire

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Statistics for bias

Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Bias.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for bias


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.


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.


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

More from Merriam-Webster on bias

Nglish: Translation of bias for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bias for Arabic Speakers


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