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[v. dih-skrim-uh-neyt; adj. dih-skrim-uh-nit] /v. dɪˈskrɪm əˌneɪt; adj. dɪˈskrɪm ə nɪt/
verb (used without object), discriminated, discriminating.
to make a distinction in favor of or against a person or thing on the basis of the group, class, or category to which the person or thing belongs rather than according to actual merit; show partiality:
The new law discriminates against foreigners. He discriminates in favor of his relatives.
to note or observe a difference; distinguish accurately:
to discriminate between things.
verb (used with object), discriminated, discriminating.
to make or constitute a distinction in or between; differentiate:
a mark that discriminates the original from the copy.
to note or distinguish as different:
He can discriminate minute variations in tone.
marked by discrimination; making or evidencing nice distinctions:
discriminate people; discriminate judgments.
1620-30; < Latin discrīminātus separated, past participle of discrīmināre. See discriminant, -ate1
Related forms
discriminately, adverb
half-discriminated, adjective
prediscriminate, verb (used with object), prediscriminated, prediscriminating.
undiscriminated, adjective
3. See distinguish. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for discriminate
  • Many groups want governments to discriminate in their favour.
  • The problem is that we did not evolve a baloney-detection device in our brains to discriminate between true and false patterns.
  • When it comes to a toothache, the brain doesn't discriminate.
  • She discriminates colors poorly.
  • In a democracy, it is important to discriminate influence from authority.
  • The disparate-impact standard is important because it is often impossible to prove an employer's intent to discriminate.
  • It annoys me that credit criteria discriminate against renters.
  • New restrictions would unfairly discriminate against older drivers.
  • Net neutrality concerns the ability of service providers to discriminate against the traffic that flows over their network.
  • Waive provisions that discriminate against health savings accounts and other consumer-driven health plans.
British Dictionary definitions for discriminate


verb (dɪˈskrɪmɪˌneɪt)
(intransitive; usually foll by in favour of or against) to single out a particular person, group, etc, for special favour or, esp, disfavour, often because of a characteristic such as race, colour, sex, intelligence, etc
when intr, foll by between or among. to recognize or understand the difference (between); distinguish: to discriminate right and wrong, to discriminate between right and wrong
(intransitive) to constitute or mark a difference
(intransitive) to be discerning in matters of taste
adjective (dɪˈskrɪmɪnɪt)
showing or marked by discrimination
Derived Forms
discriminately, adverb
discriminator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Latin discrīmināre to divide, from discrīmen a separation, from discernere to discern
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for discriminate

1620s, from Latin discriminatus, past participle of discriminare "to divide, separate," from discrimen (genitive discriminis) "interval, distinction, difference," derived noun from discernere (see discern). The adverse (usually racial) sense is first recorded 1866, American English. Positive sense remains in discriminating. Related: Discriminated. Also used 17c. and after as an adjective meaning "distinct."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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