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[in-i-kwol-i-tee] /ˌɪn ɪˈkwɒl ɪ ti/
noun, plural inequalities.
the condition of being unequal; lack of equality; disparity:
inequality of size.
social disparity:
inequality between the rich and the poor.
disparity or relative inadequacy in natural endowments:
a startling inequality of intellect, talents, and physical stamina.
injustice; partiality.
unevenness, as of surface.
an instance of unevenness.
variableness, as of climate.
  1. any component part of the departure from uniformity in astronomical phenomena, especially in orbital motion.
  2. the amount of such a departure.
Mathematics. a statement that two quantities are unequal, indicated by the symbol ≠; alternatively, by the symbol <, signifying that the quantity preceding the symbol is less than that following, or by the symbol >, signifying that the quantity preceding the symbol is greater than that following.
Origin of inequality
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English < Latin inaequālitās. See in-3, equality Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for inequality
  • In much of the developing world, lack of water is at the center of a vicious circle of inequality.
  • Thou shall not incite rebellion with your treatises of inequality, lack of rights and freedoms, and calls for anarchy.
  • Many studies have shown that income inequality is rising.
  • In the wake of the crisis, a debate has raged over the impact of rising inequality.
  • Anyway, poverty and starvation are due to the inequality between people, not to the absolute food availability.
  • Universities mirror society in increasing economic inequality.
  • The anxiety caused by human inequality is unlike anything observed in the natural world.
  • Not surprisingly, such disparity correlates highly with other measures of social and economic inequality.
  • Some find that inequality can exert a strong effect.
  • One of them is the widening gap in income inequality.
British Dictionary definitions for inequality


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being unequal; disparity
an instance of disparity
lack of smoothness or regularity
social or economic disparity
  1. a statement indicating that the value of one quantity or expression is not equal to another, as in xy
  2. a relationship between real numbers involving inequality: x may be greater than y, denoted by x>y, or less than y, denoted by x<y
(astronomy) a departure from uniform orbital motion
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 inequality

early 15c., "difference of rank or dignity," from Old French inequalité (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin inaequalitas, from Latin inaequalis "unequal," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + aequalis "equal" (see equal).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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