discrimination

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Learned borrowing from Latin discrīminātiō, discrīminātiōnem, the action noun to discrīminō, discrīmināre (distinguish). Equivalent to discriminate +‎ -ion. In English use from the 17th century.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /dɪskɹɪmɪˈneɪʃən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən

Noun[edit]

discrimination (countable and uncountable, plural discriminations)

  1. (uncountable) Discernment, the act of discriminating, discerning, distinguishing, noting or perceiving differences between things, with the intent to understand rightly and make correct decisions. [from early 17th c.]
    • 1892, Ambrose Bierce, Black Beetles in Amber[1]:
      An earthquake here rolls harmless through the land, And Thou art good because the chimneys stand— There templed cities sink into the sea, And damp survivors, howling as they flee, Skip to the hills and hold a celebration In honor of Thy wise discrimination.
  2. (uncountable) (sometimes discrimination against) Differential treatment of an individual or group to their disadvantage; treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality; prejudice; bigotry. [from early 19th c.]
    Hyponyms: heterosexism, ageism, ableism, xenophobia, racism, sexism, classism, religionism, homophobia
    sexual or racial discrimination
    • Bandini Petroleum Co. v. Superior Court, 284 U.S. 8, 18–19 (1931)
      The state, in the exercise of its general power to prescribe rules of evidence, may provide that proof of a particular fact, or of several facts taken collectively, shall be prima facie evidence of another fact when there is some rational connection between the fact proved and the ultimate fact presumed. The legislative presumption is invalid when it is entirely arbitrary, or creates an invidious discrimination, or operates to deprive a party of a reasonable opportunity to present the pertinent facts in his defense.
    • 1963, King, Jr., Martin Luther, “Transformed Nonconformist”, in Strength to Love[2], New York: Pocket Books, published 1964, OCLC 768659813, page 13:
      Many sincere white people in the South privately oppose segregation and discrimination, but they are apprehensive lest they be publicly condemned.
  3. (uncountable) The quality of being discriminating; acute discernment, especially in matters of good taste. [from 18th c.]
    • 1881, C. F. Hull, Shadows of good things to come; or, the gospel in Ruth, page 42:
      Take heed, then, lest, while you plume yourselves on your superior wisdom and discrimination, the Great Captain does not arraign you before his court-martial on the charge of blood-guiltiness.
  4. (countable, obsolete) That which discriminates; a distinguishing mark, a characteristic.
    • 1789, William Coxe, “Letter 41”, in Travels in Switzerland: In a Series of Letters to William Melmoth, Esq. from William Coxe, [] In Three Volumes [] , page 52:
      But even if this difference should be still greater, it could never be admitted as forming a specific distinction. For the horns not only differ in individuals of the same species, but in the same individuals at different ages. If we were to attempt to arrange animals solely by their horns, the discriminations would be as endless as uncertain.

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French[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin discrimīnatiō, discrimīnatiōnem. Synchronically, from discriminer +‎ -ation.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

discrimination f (plural discriminations)

  1. discrimination, distinction

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