Discrimination means distinguishing between two or more people or things. Usually, discrimination means an unfair system that treats one group of people worse than another.

Discrimination isn't always a bad thing. You have to use discrimination to tell a good restaurant from a bad one, or a good idea from a bad one. However, this word is very tarnished by its main use these days: as a word for unfair treatment of people, based on racism, sexism, homophobia, or another prejudice. There is a huge history of discrimination in the United States.

Definitions of discrimination

n unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice

favoritism, favouritism
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able-bodiedism, able-bodism, ableism, ablism
discrimination in favor of the able-bodied
ageism, agism
discrimination against middle-aged and elderly people
favoritism shown to friends and associates (as by appointing them to positions without regard for their qualifications)
fatism, fattism
discrimination against people who are overweight
discrimination in favor of heterosexual and against homosexual people
favoritism shown to relatives or close friends by those in power (as by giving them jobs)
racial discrimination, racialism, racism
discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race
discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of the opposite sex
racial profiling
a form of racism consisting of the (alleged) policy of policemen who stop and search vehicles driven by persons belonging to particular racial groups
antifeminism, chauvinism, male chauvinism
activity indicative of belief in the superiority of men over women
sexual discrimination
discrimination (usually in employment) that excludes one sex (usually women) to the benefit of the other sex
Type of:
social control
control exerted (actively or passively) by group action

n the cognitive process whereby two or more stimuli are distinguished

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differentiation, distinction
a discrimination between things as different and distinct
individualisation, individualization, individuation
discriminating the individual from the generic group or species
appreciation, discernment, perceptiveness, taste
delicate discrimination (especially of aesthetic values)
a distinction drawn on the basis of contrast
contrast, demarcation, dividing line, line
a conceptual separation or distinction
hairsplitting, word-splitting
making too fine distinctions of little importance
connoisseurship, vertu, virtu
love of or taste for fine objects of art
style, trend, vogue
the popular taste at a given time
delicacy, discretion
refined taste; tact
the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group
Type of:
basic cognitive process
cognitive processes involved in obtaining and storing knowledge

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