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[dih-skrim-uh-ney-shuh n] /dɪˌskrɪm əˈneɪ ʃən/
an act or instance of discriminating, or of making a distinction.
treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:
racial and religious intolerance and discrimination.
the power of making fine distinctions; discriminating judgment:
She chose the colors with great discrimination.
Archaic. something that serves to differentiate.
Origin of discrimination
1640-50; < Latin discrīminātiōn- (stem of discrīminātiō) a distinguishing. See discriminate, -ion
Related forms
discriminational, adjective
antidiscrimination, adjective
nondiscrimination, noun
prediscrimination, noun
self-discrimination, noun
3. discernment, taste, acumen, perception. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for discrimination
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If the withdrawal did not remove the discrimination against St Cloud it would not at all events aggravate it.

  • She had not at any time a keen eye to discrimination of character.

    The Arbiter Lady F. E. E. Bell
  • Society, in the mass, lacks woefully in the matter of discrimination.

    Jennie Gerhardt Theodore Dreiser
  • She knows the names and eras of china, and has discrimination.

    Floyd Grandon's Honor Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • There is such a natural kindness of disposition in me, blended with the most refined sense of discrimination.

    A Day's Ride Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for discrimination


unfair treatment of a person, racial group, minority, etc; action based on prejudice
subtle appreciation in matters of taste
the ability to see fine distinctions and differences
(electronics) the selection of a signal having a particular frequency, amplitude, phase, etc, effected by the elimination of other signals by means of a discriminator
Derived Forms
discriminational, adjective
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 discrimination

1640s, "the making of distinctions," from Late Latin discriminationem (nominative discriminatio), noun of action from past participle stem of discriminare (see discriminate). Especially in a prejudicial way, based on race, 1866, American English. Meaning "discernment" is from 1814.

It especially annoys me when racists are accused of 'discrimination.' The ability to discriminate is a precious facility; by judging all members of one 'race' to be the same, the racist precisely shows himself incapable of discrimination. [Christopher Hitchens]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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