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micro- +‎ aggression, coined by American psychiatrist Chester M. Pierce in 1970.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌmaɪ.krəʊ.əˈɡre.ʃən/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌmaɪ.kroʊ.əˈɡre.ʃən/


microaggression (countable and uncountable, plural microaggressions)

  1. (sociology, chiefly US) Any small-scale verbal or physical interaction between those of different races, cultures, beliefs, or genders that may have no malicious intent, but that can be interpreted as an aggression.
    • 2014 February 18, Graeme Hamilton, “McGill student forced to apologize for racial ‘microaggression’ after emailing joke Obama clip”, in National Post[1], retrieved February 19, 2014:
      At McGill, someone has established a McGill Microaggressions website inviting students and staff to report instances of “sexism, heteropatriarchy, transphobia, classism, racism [and] ableism.”
    • 2015 September, Greg Lukianoff, Jonathan Haidt, “The Coddling of the American Mind”, in The Atlantic[2]:
      Two terms have risen quickly from obscurity into common campus parlance. Microaggressions are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless.
    • 2020 March 3, Hahna Yoon, “How to Respond to Microaggressions”, in The New York Times[3], →ISSN:
      For many of us, microaggressions are so commonplace that it seems impossible to tackle them one at a time. Psychologists often compare them to death by a thousand cuts.
    • 2021, John H. McWhorter, chapter 6, in Woke Racism, New York: Forum, →ISBN:
      Ask whether microaggressions merit the same response as physical assault and the Elect do not receive this as a challenging query.


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